P.E.I. reports one new COVID-19 case Tuesday; first day of Vax Pass

Prince Edward Island is reporting one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, says the individual is in their 50s with a history of travel outside of Atlantic Canada. Contact tracing is complete and the individual is self-isolating.

P.E.I. currently has nine active cases of COVID-19. To date, the province has identified 303 positive cases of the virus.

Morrison says during the last week, there have been 987 new cases of COVID-19 in Atlantic Canada. She says she is concerned about the resurge in cases in their neighbouring province, New Brunswick.

"As a close neighbour, I will watch it very closely and we hope that P.E.I. never has to deal with a surge in cases that results in serious illness that overwhelms our health-care system," said Morrison.

VACCINE UPDATE

As of last Tuesday, 94.3 per cent of Islanders 12 and over had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 87.3 per cent of those eligible for a shot are fully vaccinated.

Morrison says P.E.I.'s vaccine rates among fully vaccinated of those under 50 years of age continue to lag behind the province's "overall excellent average."

"In particular, those aged 40 to 49, 84 per cent are fully vaccinated; aged 30 to 39, 83 per cent are fully vaccinated; age 20 to 29, 78 per cent are fully vaccinated; and of those aged 12 to 19, 75 per cent are fully vaccinated," said Morrison.

P.E.I.'s top doctor says although the province's vaccine rates are among the highest in the country, the fully vaccinated rates among those under 50 years of age are still too low.

THIRD COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES

In September, P.E.I. started offering third doses of COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals.

"We encourage individuals who are immunocompromised and require this third dose to visit a vaccine clinic or a pharmacy if over 18 years of age," said Morrison.

According to Morrison, last week, the National Advisory Commission on Immunization (NACI) recommended that residents in long-term care and seniors living in other congregate settings, including community care facilities, should get a booster dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after the primary series has been administered.

"Boosting immunity levels in residents living in long-term care and community care facilities who are at higher risk of exposure and serious illness will help to maintain their protection against infection and severe outcomes," explained Morrison.

P.E.I. says it will be following NACI's recent recommendation to offer third booster doses to residents in long-term care and seniors living in other congregate settings.

POTENTIAL COVID-19 EXPOSURES

Morrison also announced three public health exposure notifications during a live news conference on Tuesday.

Anyone who visited the following locations is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Should symptoms develop, individuals are asked to get tested.

  • The Lone Oak Brewery (103 Abegweit Blvd., Borden-Carleton) on Friday, Oct. 1
  • Between 3:15 p.m. and 4 p.m.
     
  • The Wheelhouse in Georgetown (7 West St., Georgetown) on Saturday Oct. 2
  • Between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
     
  • Granville Street Diner (454 Granville St., Summerside)  on Sunday Oct. 3
  • Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

FIRST DAY OF P.E.I. VAX PASS

Tuesday marks the first day of Prince Edward Island's vaccine passport, also known as the P.E.I. Vax Pass.

"We view this as a time-limited measure to get us through this fourth wave of COVID," said P.E.I. Premier Dennis King during a live COVID-19 news conference on Tuesday. "It is important to understand that the Vax Pass will help us prevent having to implement further restrictions and keep our children participating in sports and recreation, keep our students in the classroom, keep our businesses open, and keep our lives as normal as possible in this fourth wave of COVID."

The Vax Pass will be required at essentially any place where large gatherings will occur, including indoor and outdoor gatherings, restaurants, sporting events, concerts, wedding and funeral receptions. 

P.E.I.'s Vax Pass will not be required at worship or religious ceremonies, wedding and funeral ceremonies, or retail stores, banks or access to healthcare services.

According to Premier Dennis King, the program will initially involve showing a paper proof of vaccination and will progress to a QR code later in October.

Exemptions will be granted to individuals who are not eligible to be vaccinated or have a medical exemption.