P.E.I. to tie border openings to vaccination rates

·2 min read
Dr. Heather Morrison urged Islanders to book a vaccine appointment. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Heather Morrison urged Islanders to book a vaccine appointment. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

While P.E.I. has set tentative dates for opening to Atlantic Canada and the rest of the country, those dates could change depending on COVID-19 pandemic conditions, and on how many Islanders have been vaccinated.

During her regular pandemic briefing Tuesday, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison laid out specific targets, connecting vaccination rates to specific border openings.

P.E.I.'s reopening plan, released last week, would open borders to travellers from Atlantic Canada starting June 27. For that to go ahead, Morrison said 80 per cent of eligible Islanders need to have received a first dose of vaccine, and 80 per cent of those most at risk need to have received a second dose.

Currently, about 50 per cent of Islanders have received their first dose.

Step 4 of the plan, scheduled for Aug. 8, would allow fully-vaccinated Islanders to travel within Canada and return without self-isolating. Morrison set a target of 50 per cent of Islanders with a second dose of vaccine for this step to go ahead.

"We know that transmission of COVID-19 is decreased when individuals are vaccinated. Immunized people are less likely to get seriously ill and require hospitalization, including intensive care," said Morrison.

She said the province's strategy for dealing with the pandemic is unchanged since last spring, to make every effort to keep COVID-19 out, and to contain those cases that do come in.

Point of entry testing

P.E.I. has already begun testing at some points of entry, as part of a plan that will see everyone tested on arrival by the end of the month.

Testing was implemented at Wood Islands ferry, which is currently open to commercial traffic only, one week ago. It began at Charlottetown Airport on Monday.

Work is underway on a testing facility at Confederation Bridge that will test all people arriving starting June 27.

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