Prince Edward Island is once again holding off on moving into the last stage of its COVID-19 recovery plan based on the epidemiology of the pandemic, chief medical officer Dr. Heather Morrison said Tuesday.
Morrison told a briefing the reasoning is similar to the decision made in early September, when officials announced that the final step of its plan would be delayed from mid-September to at least mid-October.
The last measures slated to fall include border and travel measures, as well as rules around screening, testing and self-isolation, but the province is maintaining those public health protections without providing a date when they might be lifted.
“Based on the epidemiology in Atlantic Canada and the country, these travel measures and other public health measures, including gathering limits and public health guidance, will remain in place as additional layers of protection as we continue to navigate this fourth wave of the global pandemic,” she said.
Morrison also announced that pharmacists will now be able to vaccinate eligible Islanders aged 12 and older. Previously, pharmacists were only able to administer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible adult residents.
The province is also reporting three new cases of COVID-19.
Two of the new cases involve residents in their 50s who have a history of travel outside the province.
The other case involves a person in their 20s and is currently under investigation.
As of Oct. 16, more than 92 per cent of eligible Islanders have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while nearly 87 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Despite some of the highest vaccination rates in the country, Morrison said she had some concerns about rates in younger groups, especially with 20- to 29-year-olds, where the rate of full vaccination is 74 per cent, “well below the provincial average.”
The province now has seven active infections.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2021.