With health officials across Canada on high alert for another wave of COVID-19 as health restrictions continue to be eased, the Atlantic provinces as well as the Northwest Territories have more COVID-19 per capita than anywhere else in Canada or the US. Reporting 19 cases.
Experts say the high number of cases in these areas is likely due to the fact that some of these provinces have fewer restrictions on who is eligible for a COVID-19 test.
According to a tracker by CTVNews.ca comparing Canadian provinces and territories to US states, Prince Edward Island is reporting an average of 350.6 daily cases over the past seven days as of Saturday. This translates to 2,216.6 cases per million, more than every other jurisdiction on both sides of the border.
The North Western Region is second on the list with an average of 88.3 cases per day. This is equivalent to 1,996.1 cases per million. It is followed by Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, reporting 757.6, 612.1 and 567.0 cases per million, respectively.
Colin Furness, an expert on infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Toronto, told CTVNews.ca in an email on Friday that looser testing criteria in some of these provinces would “explain a lot of the difference, possibly all of it.”
However, despite the region’s strict PCR test eligibility criteria, the NWT still has the second highest per capita COVID-19 case count. Furness said that “low population immunity in areas that have previously been successful with COVID in several waves” could be another factor that explains the high cases reported in these areas.
In late 2021, when the rise of the Omicron version caused COVID-19 cases across Canada to rise, many provinces began restricting access to laboratory tests as testing capacity became strained.
In provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, BC and others, only health care workers, people living in long-term care homes, immunocompromised people, pregnant people and others deemed at high risk of COVID-19 are eligible for testing. are eligible. Screening Clinic. Anyone else displaying COVID-19 symptoms is being encouraged to stay home and use rapid home tests.
However, at PEI, COVID-19 testing clinics are available for anyone who develops symptoms or has already tested positive with home testing. PEI’s top doctor has also attributed the province’s high case count to widespread access to testing.
PEI Chief Public Health said, “At PEI, we have better access to COVID-19 testing than other provinces and territories, because we’ve tested more people. This is really what we do with other jurisdictions.” Not accurate for comparing case rates.” Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said during a COVID-19 media briefing last month.
In Nova Scotia, anyone who is symptomatic and tested positive in the first rapid test is eligible for a PCR test. New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have more restrictions on who is eligible for a PCR test, but residents who test positive with a rapid test can report their positive results online in their provinces.