Note from Michael, Dec. 14, 2021 | Omicron, Facebook, Winter Weather, Anti-bullying Day

From the desk of Dr. Michael Gardam, Health PEI CEO

Hi everyone, 

There is more in the news close to home regarding the new variant of concern, Omicron, as we are seeing cases pop up across Atlantic Canada. Some of you may be concerned and I know you are probably getting questions from your friends and family about what this means. 
We still have a lot to learn about the variant Omicron; however, it seems more and more likely that it is going to replace Delta around the world.  
Early evidence also suggests that, just like there was a decrease in protection from infection between Alpha and Delta, there will be another decrease between Delta and Omicron. This means fully vaccinated people who are exposed are more likely to catch Omicron than they were Delta. It does look like the vaccination still protects from serious illness, which is very good news. 
Protection from infection significantly improves with a booster shot, so get out there and get one!  Mine is booked in early January and I continue to be very excited about getting COVID vaccines. The world is realizing the only way out of the pandemic is vaccination.
The arrival of Omicron also means that our public health measures are even more important—masking, physical distancing and symptom checks/testing are key strategies in addition to vaccination.  Be careful over the upcoming holidays.


Our Comms team is happy (and a little embarrassed) to announce (admit?) that Health PEI is now on Facebook. We invite you to like and follow the page. And, for more of a 2018 flavour, we’re also now on Instagram! 

Joking aside, our goal over the next several weeks is to tell more of the good stories through these platforms about the great work you as staff do every day. 

Health care here has been tagged as being in crisis in this province, and I’ve been open in saying we have our share of challenges as an organization. Despite those challenges, our staff and physicians have consistently provided excellent care to Islanders. 

We want to show the public why they can feel safe with us, and that means telling your stories. If you have a good news idea or story idea or comment for social media, send it along to the communications team at


We made it through our first brush with winter weather last week. It was good to get the kinks out of our closure reporting system and get everyone ready to prepare for storms.  
Tracy Wolbaum, our Executive Director of HR, shared our storm closures and reasonable lateness guidance with all staff earlier this month. Please take time to read it so you know the procedures during a storm. 

Generally, staff are expected to make every reasonable effort to come to work. Bit please use your own judgement about how safe it is to do so. 

If you cannot safely make it to work, advise your manager or supervisor as quickly as possible so that backup and contingency plans to maintain services can be implemented. Leaders across the system have these plans in place and generally are notified of coming storms at least a day in advance, so these protocols should be ready to go. 

I recognize there will be times when certain services will close due to weather, while others, such as our emergency services, must always be open for the public. Having solid contingencies in place in all services should help reduce the number of closures and ensure staff can safely report to work.


Dec. 17 is Anti-bullying Day. Psychological safety is important for staff well-being and for a well-functioning organization. A big part of that is knowing bullying in the workplace is not tolerated here. If you’re being bullied or harassed, speak with your supervisor or manager and/or your HR representative. As a system, we will support you to make your workplace safer. Our anti-violence campaign is running in all media now, and respect and safety from harassment as well as physical violence are part of that. 

Please send questions, comments, or submissions for these notes to, subject line “Notes for Michael”. 

Last Updated
Thu, 12/16/2021 - 14:40