Online learning to continue and extension of public health measures until January 24; update on outbreaks

January 14, 2022

CANADA, January 13 - Premier Dennis King announced an extension to existing public health measures in the province, including continuation of online learning for K-12 students, until at least January 24, 2022. 

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says extending the public health measures will allow the CPHO to continue to learn more about the impacts of the Omicron variant on PEI.  

“The reality is we have a high volume of daily cases and active cases, numerous outbreaks across the province, hospitalizations, widespread community transmission, just over half  of children age 5 to 11 years vaccinated, and less than half of eligible adults over the age of 50 years with their third dose,” said Dr. Morrison.

“It is important that we continue to base decisions on the evolving epidemiology of the Omicron variant. We have benefitted from taking a cautious and steady approach throughout this pandemic and now is not the time to change our course.” 

Public health measures in place until at least Monday, January 24 include:

  • School re-opening for in-class learning will be delayed for all public and private schools, based on a further assessment next week;
  • Personal gatherings are limited to a consistent group of 10 people plus household, a smaller circle is best;
  • Wedding and funeral receptions and wakes/visitation are not permitted;
  • All organized gatherings (including worship services, theatres, wedding and funeral ceremonies and concerts) must operate with a maximum of 50 people with physical distancing between households, multiple cohorts are not permitted;
  • Gyms, fitness facilities and retail can continue to operate up to 50 per cent capacity with physical distancing and masks;
  • Visitation to long term and community care is limited to three partners in care with physical distancing (when facilities have outbreaks, visiting is further restricted);
  • Physical distancing is required in all venues up to a maximum of 50 per cent capacity (retail businesses, vax pass events, theatres, gyms, community gatherings, casinos, etc.);
  • Restaurants and eating establishments must maintain six feet between tables (maximum table size of 10 people), with proof of vaccine for all patron and masking at all times except when eating or drinking. Food premises and eating establishments must stop food and beverage service at approximately 11:00 pm and close by midnight;
  • No dancing at events and no karaoke;
  • Indoor sport and recreational activities continue to be paused for Island children under the age of 12 years, including organized sports, tournaments, competitions, games, team training and practices; league play and practices for individuals over the age of 12 years are paused; and
  • Whenever possible, employers should support employees to work from home. 

Dr. Morrison announced 209 new cases of COVID-19 and 167 recoveries since last reporting on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. 

These new cases are still under investigation. There are currently 1,964 active cases of COVID-19 and there have been 3,636 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Over the last seven days there have been an average of 192 cases per day. 

There are now eight individuals in hospital being treated for COVID-19. One of the hospitalized individuals is currently in the Intensive Care Unit. 

Update on the outbreaks across Prince Edward Island:

  • Atlantic Baptist Long Term Care Facility
    • New outbreak with four residents and three staff testing positive
    • Further testing is taking place today
  • Garden Home Long Term Care Facility
    • There is an outbreak at this facility and now nine additional residents (13 total) have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as three staff members 
  • Miscouche Villa Community Care Facility 
    • No new cases to report
    • Next round of testing will take place tomorrow, January 14
  • Early Learning and Child Care Centres
    • One additional child care centre (now a total of 11) have cases or clusters of cases of COVID-19
    • Four of these facilities are open, four are closed and three are open offering modified or limited services
  • Shelters and Outreach Services
    • Two new cases of COVID-19 (seven total) related to this outbreak among individuals who regularly access shelters and outreach services in Charlottetown 
  • Provincial Correctional Centre
    • Seven staff are positive and three offenders
    • One additional offender is positive; however, is not linked to the outbreak

In addition, there are numerous other outbreaks in workplaces across the province. 

In order to preserve the limited capacity of Health PEI testing clinics, until further notice, testing will continue to be limited to the following:

  • Symptomatic individuals
  • Close contacts of positive cases 
  • Confirmatory tests for individuals who test preliminary positive at a point-of-entry
  • Confirmatory tests for individuals who test preliminary positive with a rapid antigen test 

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate until they are able to be tested and continue to isolate after being tested until a negative result is received. 

Individuals who do not have symptoms do not require testing (unless in one of the above categories). Those who are presenting for testing related to travel (for example: day 4 tests) will be provided with at home rapid antigen tests, two tests to be taken 48 hours apart.

The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning announced today that respite programing will continue to expand across the province. Starting next week, schools will also be providing a new school-based support program for students who are struggling academically or socially. Student services and school staff will be identifying students they feel would benefit from this type of support. If a parent or guardian feels this is something that their child would benefit from, they can reach out to their school administrators to sign up. The program will have limited capacity and follow strict public health measures.

APSEA supports, Occupational Therapists, our Speech Language Pathologists and our School Counselors are reaching out to families and coordinating one-on-one supports for students, both virtually and in-person.

A Child Care Allowance of $125/week per child is available for parents who need support for child care. For those families using a private babysitter, they can apply online. For families with school aged children at a licensed centre, the funds will go directly to the centre to help pay for child care fees; no application is required.

The Food Security Program for low-income families experiencing challenges with food security will continue until January 24. Deliveries will be on Tuesday, January 18 and Friday, January 21. The final delivery date will be on January 21. Get more information or register online.

With the decision to continue with remote learning until at least the 24th, high school examinations will not be held this term.  For first semester, students’ final marks will be based on their class-based assessments, including those completed during remote learning.

Islanders are reminded that supports are available for those impacted by COVID-19.  The Prince Edward Island Emergency Payment for WorkersEmergency Income Relief for Self-Employed, and the COVID-19 Special Leave Fund programs are now accepting applications.  Islanders may also be eligible for programs through the Government of Canada such as the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit(link is external), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit(link is external) or the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit(link is external).

Individuals who are isolating and require supports are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 to be directed to nearby community support systems, or provincial government service offices.  This assistance includes help with securing food, personal prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and other emergency situations.  

As always, all Islanders are urged to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19, even after a previous negative test, and to self-isolate until the results come back.

As of Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 95.9 per cent of eligible Island residents age 12 years and over have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 92.6 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses. 56.1 per cent of children age 5-11 years have received their first dose. 

As of today 21,000 people are eligible to receive a booster that have not done so. Individuals should book their booster appointment for six months after their last dose. Getting a booster is an important layer or protection against serious illness related to the Omicron variant.

Anyone age 12 and over can receive their COVID-19 vaccination at one of the Health PEI clinics(link is external) or at one of the 28 partner pharmacies across the province. Island children between the ages of five and 11 years can now receive their COVID-19 vaccination at Health PEI clinics.  

For information on PEI’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including vaccine facts, immunization data and booking an appointment, visit: COVID-19 Vaccines. For answers to commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit: Answers to Common COVID-19 Vaccine Questions.

Backgrounder: 

The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed, and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.

Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Wear a properly fitted, three-layer mask in indoor public places and in outdoor public places where physical distancing from others cannot be maintained
  • Keep your circle of contacts small
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well
  • Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart
  • Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles
  • Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
  • Visit a drop-in-clinic to be tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms  

Media Contact:

Samantha Hughes Health and Wellness (902) 316-1323 shughes@gov.pe.ca