PEI

20-somethings without symptoms asked to stop seeking COVID-19 tests, for now

Only those in their 20s in the Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall area who are experiencing symptoms need to be tested for COVID-19 right away, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin in her regular weekly interview Thursday.

High volume of tests 'very challenging,' for lab, says Morrision

Morrison says there hasn't been a vaccine approved for use on children yet. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Only those in their 20s in the Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall area who are experiencing symptoms need to be tested for COVID-19 right away, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin in her regular Thursday interview. 

(For Dr. Morrison's full interview, watch CBC News: Compass tonight at 6 p.m.)

Morrison and Premier Dennis King on Sunday announced a two-week "circuit breaker" phase of modified lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on P.E.I., after seven new cases cropped up on the weekend and four more related cases were identified Monday. 

As part of the so-called circuit breaker, officials asked all capital-area residents in their 20s to be tested for COVID-19.

On Monday and Tuesday, that led to long lineups at testing sites. On Wednesday, to cope with the increased demand, public health officials set up a testing site at Holland College, followed by another at UPEI Thursday. 

Dr. Heather Morrison applauds young Islanders for 'tremendous response' to get tested for COVID-19

12 months ago
7:05
'Over 4,000 people in that age category, 20-29, have been tested in the last few days ... I think it's fantastic,' Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says. 7:05

"We didn't anticipate as many 20- to 29-year-olds coming out to be tested," Morrison told Martin.

As of Thursday, 2,344 tests had been processed for the 20-29 age group, with no positive test results. As well, results are still pending for 1,700 other tests done this week, for a total of more than 4,000 tests in four days, a written release late this afternoon stated.

'Very, very challenging'

Morrison said the volume of tests has been "very, very challenging" for the testing lab, as well as for those performing the tests.

"Now that we have that proportion of young people who have been tested, it certainly is reassuring at this point," she said, thanking everyone who came for tests. 

She said public health officials may want to work with employers to carry out more testing in the future. 

Officials still have not been able to determine the source of the most recent outbreak that infected the 11 young people. 

Vaccination won't be mandatory

On another topic, Morrison said there is no vaccine so far approved for use in children, adding that school outbreaks are unlikely if there is no COVID-19 in the community.

Will Islanders need proof of vaccination in order to receive services down the road? Vaccination is not mandatory and will not be, she said.

Islanders are usually willing to have their children vaccinated and to receive flu vaccines, Morrison said, so there is a already culture of willingness to be vaccinated. 

She said an exact date for rolling out the vaccine to Islanders hasn't been confirmed yet.

Prince Edward Island currently has 13 active cases of COVID-19, out of 84 positive cases since the pandemic began. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from CBC News: Compass

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