How P.E.I. is faring in the Omicron wave: An update

·2 min read
There have been long queues at the COVID-19 testing centre in Charlottetown for weeks. It's an example of strained capacity across the country that has brought into question the accuracy of case counts. (Laura Chapin/CBC - image credit)
There have been long queues at the COVID-19 testing centre in Charlottetown for weeks. It's an example of strained capacity across the country that has brought into question the accuracy of case counts. (Laura Chapin/CBC - image credit)

The Omicron wave, which in terms of case numbers looked bad before Christmas, has grown much worse.

Canada saw more than 3.5 times as many cases in the last week as it did in the week before Dec. 22. On P.E.I. there were seven times as many.

While P.E.I. has never seen anything like this most recent wave, its new case count rates remain well below — about 18 per cent — the national average.

A caution about case numbers before we look more deeply into this.

In the last three or four weeks testing capacity across the country has been under strain. Provinces have been putting more limits on who can get tested, and with long waits some people who might otherwise have been tested may not have been.

As a result, most experts believe Canada is currently undercounting COVID-19 cases, and this undercount may vary from province to province.

Hospitalizations are perhaps a better measure of how provinces are doing, but with just four the numbers on P.E.I. are too small for a meaningful comparison. That is, however, good news. By that measure we can say P.E.I. is doing well.

Having said that, what do the case numbers look like?

In terms of ranking among the provinces P.E.I. comes in the middle. It comes in behind the three most westerly provinces. The Island's case rate is also a little higher than in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

Given the likely errors discussed above, it is probably fair to say P.E.I.'s rates are about the same as half the provinces, with Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario being higher, and Saskatchewan and B.C. being lower.

New cases in the last 7 days per 100K population

While P.E.I.'s case rates are well below the national average, its rates are growing faster than almost anywhere else, behind only Newfoundland and Labrador.

P.E.I.'s case rates are up 228 per cent, compared to the national average of about 79 per cent.

Change in daily cases in the last 7 days

In terms of cases since the pandemic began, the situation on P.E.I. has changed dramatically.

P.E.I.'s rate of cases per 100,000 has tripled since Dec. 22, from 350 to 1,041. P.E.I.'s rate remains the lowest, but before Christmas there were no other provinces that were as close to as low. The rate now is comparable to Newfoundland and Labrador's.

Total COVID-19 cases per 100K

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