PEI

'It's what we expected,' says Morrison of rising COVID-19 cases on P.E.I.

In an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says rising case counts of COVID-19 on the Island are not a surprise considering recently relaxed public health measures.

P.E.I. seeing transmission in households, personal gatherings and sport and recreation

'It's what we expected,' Morrison says of rising COVID-19 case counts on P.E.I.

4 months ago
Duration 9:02
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says relaxed restrictions mean increased cases, but not more hospitalizations

In an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says rising case counts of COVID-19 on the Island are not a surprise considering recently relaxed public health measures. 

"Yes our cases are rising ... it's what we expected when we eased up on some of the restrictions," Morrison said. 

"But we do have to ease up on the restrictions, because we're able to protect people a little differently now."

On Wednesday, P.E.I. reported a total of 3,355 active cases with 962 new cases since the last update on Feb. 28. The average daily case count for the last seven days is 373. Three people are in hospital due to COVID-19, and four others were admitted for other reasons and later tested positive.

Effective Monday, P.E.I. discontinued the Vax Pass and is removing isolation requirements for unvaccinated travellers.

Morrison said P.E.I. is seeing transmission in households and personal gatherings as well as sport and recreational activities where most people no longer wear masks. Most of the cases in school-age children are not related to classrooms, but rather to recreation and personal activities, she noted. 

More cases but not severe outcomes

She said P.E.I. is not seeing the same rise in hospitalizations as it's seeing in cases. 

"At this point in the pandemic, we have high rates of vaccination including booster doses, which provide additional protection for severe outcomes," she said. Eighty-four per cent of people over the age of 50 on P.E.I. who are eligible for a booster dose have received one, she said — and those are the people more likely to end up in hospital. 

Morrison also noted P.E.I. now has access to treatments Paxlovid and monoclonal antibody delivery to minimize severe outcomes in high-risk patients. 

Step 2 in the Moving On plan to relax public health measures is scheduled for March 17, when gatherings can be increased to 75 per cent of a venue's capacity and sport and recreational activities can increase up to 100 participants over the course of a day. Morrison said officials are watching things closely, and don't anticipate step two will come into effect any earlier. 

When could mask mandates be lifted?

Morrison said they'll be one of the last measures to go, because masks work, but will at some point move to a recommendation and not a requirement. 

With files from CBC News: Compass

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now