P.E.I. to ease COVID-19 restrictions next week, limits access to PCR tests

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Too early to call COVID-19 an “endemic”: epidemiologist
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Prince Edward Island’s chief public health officer says COVID-19 restrictions will be eased further next week as the province enters Step 2 of its reopening plan.

Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters Tuesday that starting March 17, the limit on personal outdoor gatherings will rise to 50 people from 20 people. The indoor gathering limit, however, remains at 20 people.

Morrison said retail stores, fitness facilities, museums, casinos and libraries will be allowed to operate at 75 per cent capacity instead of 50 per cent.

Screening for COVID-19 at points of entry will become randomized.

Morrison said she continues to expect that the final step of the government’s reopening plan will occur on or before April 7, when gathering limits and masking requirements are expected to be lifted.

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She also announced that the government is limiting access to PCR testing because demand is straining capacity. She said only close contacts of positive cases will be required to get tested – and only if they are symptomatic and live or work in a high-risk setting.

Morrison said 24.5 per cent of tests conducted at Island clinics over the last seven days came back positive, compared to 20.7 per cent the previous week.

“So in many ways we are testing the right people when you see that kind of per cent positivity,” she said.

The province reported 704 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases to 4,596. Morrison said that over the last seven days, the Island has seen an average of 506 new cases per day.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2022.


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