Many public health measures will remain in place on P.E.I. as the fourth wave of COVID-19 continues to spread, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced in a public health briefing Tuesday.
The fifth and final phase of P.E.I.'s Moving Forward plan, which would see many restrictions lifted, was scheduled to begin Sept. 12.
But Morrison said much has changed since the first phase began in June.
"Now is the time to stay the course with our current measures," she said. "The Delta variant is a game-changer."
Gathering limits will continue to be limited to 100 indoors and 200 outdoors, Morrison said. Weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 200 people.
The move to Phase 5 will be determined over the next few weeks, she said. Checkpoints at the border will remain in place until at least mid-October.
Premier Dennis King, who also spoke at the briefing, said P.E.I. would likely follow the lead of other provinces and implement a vaccine passport, built on the P.E.I. Pass. More details would be forthcoming in the days ahead, he said.
2 new cases announced
Morrison also announced two new cases on P.E.I. Both involve people in their 20s and are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. Contact tracing is complete.
The following flight exposure notifications were released Tuesday:
Air Canada flight 2031 from Charlottetown to Toronto on August 29.
West Jet flight 382 from Toronto to Charlottetown on September 5.
Air Canada flight 7554 from Montreal to Charlottetown on September 5.
West Jet flight 330 from Toronto to Charlottetown on September 6.
Anyone who travelled on these flights should monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and if any develop, visit a drop-in testing site.
There have been 235 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. Five remain active. There have been no deaths attributed to the virus on P.E.I.
COVID-19 cases on P.E.I.
There have been 150 new cases in the Atlantic provinces in the past week. The highest percentage of new cases are people between the ages of 20 and 39.
Morrison said vaccination remains the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
About 43,000 P.E.I. residents are not fully vaccinated, including about 19,000 who are ineligible because they are under 12.
"We know that having 80 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated is not sufficient to provide the herd protection against the Delta variant," Morrison said.
The briefing comes as students return to class for the first day of school. Morrison said the best way to protect students is to keep case numbers low. She said a high number of school staff are fully vaccinated.
Reminder about symptoms
The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
Possible loss of taste and/or smell.
New or worsening fatigue.
Shortness of breath.