Some P.E.I. COVID-19 testing sites shutting down as vaccination rates go up

·2 min read
Some P.E.I. COVID-19 testing sites shutting down as vaccination rates go up
A lineup of cars, cement barricades and a white tent are shown at a border testing site on P.E.I.  (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
A lineup of cars, cement barricades and a white tent are shown at a border testing site on P.E.I. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Some COVID-19 testing sites on Prince Edward Island are closing as the province's vaccination rate continues to grow.

Testing sites at Montague and O'Leary had their last day of testing Wednesday. P.E.I. Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling said those sites are closing due to the low number of people needing to be tested there.

Testing locations in Charlottetown and Borden will continue to run, and the province will see more of its testing at border crossings instead, Dowling told Louise Martin during an interview for CBC News: Compass.

"There is going to be much less need of testing over the next number of months, but also shifted our testing to our border screening locations and working with the Chief Public Health Office and those border screeners to do the testing at those points of entry."

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

As well, the Summerside-area testing location at Slemon Park will be closing on weekends as of this Friday.

"Anyone who needs testing on Saturday and Sunday in that area of the province can go to our Borden location, which is at Dickie Road," Dowling said.

Staff who have been working at the test sites that are closing are needed to fill their usual roles, she said.

"Our staff that have been providing the testing services there have been diverted from other work in our health system by providing primary care," she said.

"We really want to be able to put those staff back into their regular work providing care for Islanders in those primary care locations."

Happy with vaccine uptake

As of July 10, 85.2 per cent of Prince Edward Islanders have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 34.4 per cent have received both shots.

"We're very happy with the uptake from Islanders to be vaccinated, and we know we're among the highest of other provinces across the country for that first dose vaccine, which means those second doses are now coming and that they will ramp up as well," Dowling said.

Dowling said the eight week wait between doses will still be followed.

"Our team is working to see how we could accelerate those second doses, if at all possible, within our resources and our space constraints and time constraints and staff constraints that we have," she said.

"But also, we're sticking with our guidance of that recommended optimal dosage of eight weeks for the second dose of COVID vaccine and looking toward the future of the fall. So we're on target to sort of get there by the end of the summer."

For Islanders who have not received any COVID-19 vaccine, first dose appointments are still available.

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