Despite there being only two active cases of the novel coronavirus on Prince Edward Island, health officials are projecting nine people will die from the virus and 120 will be hospitalized by June 1 under the current strong control measures in place.
The province released its projection modelling on Tuesday. Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the models are not “crystal balls” to predict what will happen, rather they can help understand what might.
“Today is really an assessment of our current status of COVID-19 epidemic in Prince Edward Island, and to look at what some of these models and the outcomes could be,” Morrison said, recognizing that the models are “imperfect.”
In its modelling, health officials project that 900 people could have died from COVID-19 by June 1 under mild control measures, but under strong control measures, they’re projecting nine deaths.
When it comes to hospitalizations, the modelling projects 14,000 admissions under mild control measures, and 120 with what’s in place.
Under mild control measures, the province projects it would need 3,250 acute care beds despite having a capacity of 207. Under the current measures, they’re projecting 15 beds.
Morrison says the modelling shows that the province’s actions have made a difference.
“I think if there was one message I would like people to realize, it would be that,” she said. “We are still in an early phase of the epidemic, and as such we do have an opportunity to control the remaining part of this epidemic.”
The modeling uses data from other countries, Canada and P.E.I. to predict the spread of COVID-19. It also creates scenarios using a range of data values.
According to the province, mild control measures include:
- A low degree of physical/social distancing
- A low proportion of cases identified and isolated
- A low proportion of contacts traced and quarantined
- A low proportion of self-isolation by out-of-province travelers
- For each case, 2 more people are infected
While strong control measures include the opposite.
Morrison says modeling is a challenge on Prince Edward Island but they will continue to provide updated models every couple of weeks.
There are just two active cases of COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island, as 23 of its 25 cases have now fully recovered. The province has not identified a new case since April 8.
The only province in Atlantic Canada yet to release similar projection modeling is Nova Scotia.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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