(BC Centre for Disease Control)

(BC Centre for Disease Control)

Cluster outbreak in Nechako Lakes Health Authority; NH urging vigilance

Cases continue to rise in B.C.’s interior

There have been 108 confirmed cases of COVID-19 between Nov. 18 and Dec. 17 in the central and northern portion of the Nechako Lakes Health Area, Northern Health (NH) said Dec. 18.

This area includes Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and area, and surrounding First Nation communities.

There were 33 confirmed cases between Dec. 9 and Dec. 15. Of the total, 65 are considered active.

“We need your support and commitment to act responsibly and to play your part in limiting the spread of the virus,” stated the health bulletin.

NH reiterated current provincial restrictions in the release including no social gathering of any size; travel for essential purposes only; wearing a mask in indoor spaces and staying home if sick.

“Rates of COVID-19 cases in the north mean that whether or not you have had close contact with a lab-confirmed COVID case or someone with COVID-19 symptoms, everyone is at a similar risk for getting COVID. For this reason, everyone should be following public health advice, closely self-monitoring for symptoms and getting tested if symptoms develop.”

The bulletin comes after a BC Emergency Health Services specialized paramedic task force was deployed in Fort St. James for eight days.

In an email, Fort St. James Mayor Bob Motion said, “The Covid-19 risk in Fort St James and surrounding communities is real and that anyone outside your bubble may be carrying COVID-19 yet be unaware of doing so. Please take the threat seriously and limit your social interactions and gatherings to only those in your immediate household during this holiday season.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 paramedic task force leaves Fort St. James; B.C. to send an extra ambulance

Meanwhile, an ambulance and equipment is being sent back to Fort St. James with two paramedics from Vancouver Island, who will work and support the community until Dec. 28. Initially, these additional resources were being sent to the community until Dec. 24 but that timeline has been extended by four days.

Earlier this week, officials in Fort St. James, including Mayor Bob Motion and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad were asking for transparency after conflicting numbers of COVID-19 were released last week — 60 by BC EHS and 40 by Northern Health.

Full orders and guidelines can be found at www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

READ MORE: Officials call for transparency after surge in COVID-19 cases puts Fort St. James under microscope

With a file from Greg Sabatino

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express


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