PEI

Some not tested during busy weekend at Confederation Bridge

Not everyone arriving on P.E.I. via Confederation Bridge this weekend was tested for COVID-19.

‘It is neither safe nor permissible for vehicles to be backed up onto the bridge’

Vaccines are not 100 per cent effective, but will decrease your chance of severe outcomes, says Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Not everyone arriving on Prince Edward Island via Confederation Bridge this weekend was tested for COVID-19.

The province has set up facilities at the foot of the bridge to screen people arriving and do rapid testing. In her regular biweekly briefing Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the number of people arriving on the weekend was too high for staff to keep up.

"It is neither safe nor permissible for vehicles to be backed up onto the bridge," said Morrison.

"Alternatively we have to go into contingency when we reach testing capacity. Tests have to be analyzed within one hour of collection or they expire and become invalid."

On Friday and Saturday, there were almost 8,500 arrivals via Confederation Bridge.

Everyone was still screened, she said, and any traveller who was not fully vaccinated was tested.

The province put up more weather resistant buildings at the Confederation Bridge checkpoint this month. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

People are still being told to get a PCR test between days four to eight after arriving, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.

The province recently built more weather resistant structures at the Confederation Bridge test point, which Morrison said was both for the benefit of staff and for the climate control necessary for the testing facilities.

"I do anticipate this testing will continue through the fourth wave and likely through the winter," she said.

"Our borders have really helped us throughout this pandemic, right from the beginning.

"We have some who test positive at our points of entry every week and some are not reported here as part of our case count because they turn around and go back to their original province."

Cases rising again nationally

There are signs that the fourth wave is not ending in Canada, said Morrison.

After some reductions in cases nationally earlier this fall, she said cases were up 14 per cent last week.

"This upward trend is concerning," she said.

While noting it is possible for fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19, Morrison presented statistics to demonstrate that fully vaccinated people are far more protected.

"In Canada hospitalizations mainly occur among unvaccinated individuals," she said.

"The vaccine is not 100 per cent effective, but the evidence says it will decrease your chance of severe outcomes."

Average weekly rate of new cases among the unvaccinated is seven times higher than in the fully vaccinated population. This difference is even larger for younger people.

  • 12- to 19-year-olds: 19 times higher.
  • Over 80 years old: 5 times higher.

Unvaccinated people aged 12 to 59 are 45 times more likely to be admitted to hospital. Those over 60 are 18 times more likely to be hospitalized.

 

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