The isolation requirements for people who test positive for COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island will remain in place throughout November, according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison.
"The intention is to extend that isolation part of the order, but it will be the last time that we do so because we'll be adjusting the messaging about the importance of staying home when you're feeling sick," she said.
Morrison said the province will continue to monitor infection rates, but as they are currently declining on P.E.I., the approach going forward will be to emphasize staying home if you're ill to reduce the transmission of all illnesses.
"Whether it's influenza or COVID or other kinds of cold viruses, many symptoms are the same," she said.
"Just because you may not test positive for COVID, it's important not to go out and sit with vulnerable people and be coughing and sneezing all over them."
Islanders with COVID-19 must isolate for five days from when symptoms began or from the date of their positive COVID-19 test. Those who are immunocompromised must do so for 10 days.
Morrison said the Chief Public Health Office will continue to encourage Islanders to stay up-to-date with their booster and flu vaccines.
Vaccination rates low in young children
COVID-19 vaccines have been available for children under the age of five since July. But according to the province's vaccination data, as of Oct. 9, less than 10 per cent of children in that age group have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Morrison said the low vaccination rate in young children isn't cause for concern. Previous infections, vaccine availability and timing may all play a part.
"If it had been available perhaps much earlier on in the pandemic, maybe there would have been a different uptake," she said.
"But we also know that there's some in that age group who had COVID within the last few months, so there may be some delay in even their ability to be vaccinated until a few months after they've had COVID."