The Government of P.E.I. helps with contact tracing and approves support services and programs
Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said an increase in absenteeism is one of the impacts of the Omicron variant that the province is most likely to see in the weeks to come. to come.
“As more and more people test positive, along with their close contacts who need to self-isolate to do their part to stop the spread of the virus, we are going to see some absenteeism in all areas of the Island of Prince Edward,” King said.
“To ensure essential services are maintained in our province, we have activated an Integrated Response Team comprised of senior officials from CPHA, Health PEI. and other government departments, to ensure that government programs and services are not disrupted over the coming weeks, days and months.
King says planning includes prioritizing essential services, such as programs for vulnerable Islanders and ensuring payment and support programs are administered without disruption. The Prime Minister says maintaining the safety of public servants is also a top priority.
“We have asked each department to renew and adopt their business continuity plans over the past few days, as well as to identify staff who could be redeployed to essential services across government so that we can maintain these services for Islanders,” King said.
“All government employees who can will continue to work from home to limit the spread within government and beyond.”
Where in-person work is needed, the Prime Minister says the same measures that were in place at the start of the pandemic continue to be followed, such as staff cohorting, physical distancing and mandatory masking.
Testing clinics on the island are now limited to three main categories:
- People with symptoms of COVID-19
- People who are close contacts of a positive case
- People who have tested positive on a rapid test
“I want to reiterate the importance and the need to get tested if you have symptoms, and I mean symptoms of COVID-19,” King says.
Rapid tests are distributed at PEI ports of entry, testing clinics and some Access PEI centres.
“We have confirmed that the Government of Canada will provide approximately 300,000 additional rapid test kits in January, but as the provincial government we have also been working to obtain another 300,000 for the month of January through private suppliers. said King.
King says government employees have been contracted to provide public health assistance with contact tracing.
“Nearly 80% of cases in P.E.I. are either related to travel or close contacts. So the longer we can maintain proper contact tracing, the sooner we will feel we can curb the spread of COVID-19,” King says.
“It’s a comprehensive approach to try to help public health in any way possible.”
Over the past few days, King says cabinet has met and approved a variety of programs and support services to help Islanders.
“These programs include, but are not limited to, the reinstatement of the $500 emergency payment for affected workers. This program will be retroactive to December 27 and will provide those who have seen a reduction of 25% or more in their income with a one-time payment,” King said.
“The program provides immediate relief to those affected while they can wait for the benefits of other programs.”
Application for this program is open online.
Islanders who are unable to work less than 50% of their scheduled shifts due to illness, self-isolation or awaiting test results, may be paid through their employer through from the COVID-19 Special Leave Fund.
“This fund is active now and can be accessed immediately through your employer,” King says.
Islanders who are unable to report to work for more than 50% of their scheduled shifts are eligible for federal programs such as the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, the Canada Caregiver Benefit recovery and the Canada Lockdown Workers Benefit.
“For people who are not eligible for the Canada Lockout Workers Benefit, for example, because they do not meet certain parts of the criteria, who may be self-employed for example, the Department of Economic Growth, of Tourism and Culture will launch the Emergency Income Assistance Program, which will provide $300 per week to those affected by reduced income,” King said.
The Department of Social Development and Housing has partnered with 211 to provide assistance to those who may need food or other essentials due to their isolation.
“Anyone who needs help with essentials such as groceries, supply drop-off, home heating assistance, or anything else can call 211 and they will be connected to the appropriate officials for provide those supports,” King said.
SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning and the Department of Social Development and Housing have worked together to provide children across the province with a modified school lunch program.
“Registration will open today and there will be two home deliveries for attendees next week. Each delivery will provide three meals for registrants,” says King.