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Travellers to P.E.I. to be tested for COVID-19 at its borders starting Thursday

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Rising COVID-19 cases in Atlantic Canada and elsewhere in the country are leading Prince Edward Island to increase testing as its points of entry, chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said Tuesday.

Starting Thursday, anyone travelling to the province will be tested regardless of their vaccination status – including Island residents returning home from travel, Morrison told reporters.

“As P.E.I. and other jurisdictions struggle to manage the Delta variant and the fourth wave of this pandemic, we need to take steps to protect Islanders,” she said. She also recommended that travellers 12 and older be tested again between the fourth and eighth day after they enter the province.

School-aged children under 12 who return to P.E.I. from travelling will also be required to test negative for COVID-19 before they can go back to school, Morrison said. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers, she added, will need to isolate for eight days upon entry and then tested once again.

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Read more: P.E.I. residents advised to avoid non-essential travel outside of the province

The province’s P.E.I. pass, which permits entry onto the Island, will now only be issued to people who can show they are at least two weeks removed from their second COVID-19 vaccine dose, she sad.

“The changes announced today … are steps that will continue to help us limit importation, detect cases early and contain the transmission of COVID-19,” Morrison said.

Meanwhile, she reported two new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to nine. One case involved a close household contact of a previously reported infection tied to an outbreak at Charlottetown’s West Royalty Elementary School, and the other case involved a person in their 50s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada.

Morrison said that since August, 87 per cent of the Island’s cases have been identified as the Delta variant, adding that about 98 per cent of infections identified in the country in the last week have been the Delta mutation.

“The latest modelling from the Public Health Agency of Canada predicts we will continue to see a resurgence and spread of the Delta variant well into the fall,” she said.

Read more: P.E.I. brings back masks, introduces new testing for kids as COVID-19 cases rise

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At the same time last year, the province had recorded a total of 58 cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, Morrison said. By contrast, she added, the Island has reported 63 cases in September 2021 alone.

“As we have seen in the last month, and similar to other jurisdictions, COVID-19 continues to be a threat to P.E.I.,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.

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