Prince Rupert has no current COVID-19 exposures or outbreaks reported Northern Health Authority on Jan. 6 and as to when the city may receive the coronavirus vaccine – the initial doses will be for priority groups and not city residents at large, stated Northern Health.
With increasing numbers of the virus in neighboring communities such as Terrace, Kitimat, and the Nass Valley, Communications Manager for Northern Health Eryn Collins told The Northern View the BC Centre for Disease Control map issued on Jan. 6 notes five reported, active lab-confirmed cases in Prince Rupert for the week of Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, 2021. Terrace had new 29 cases, the Nass Valley had 24, Kitimat had four new cases and Haida Gwai had one.
However, she said, ‘reported’ is the key word, and residents should be reviewing the BC Center for Disease Control maps for regularly updated information.
“While we currently have no outbreaks or public exposure notifications declared for the Prince Rupert area, it’s important for everyone to understand that the data in these maps is only reflective of laboratory-confirmed cases… as the map states, not all COVID-19 infected individuals are tested and reported, and so the virus may be circulating… in any community.”
With respect to vaccines, only those in priority groups (health care workers/LTC residents, for example) will be able to access the initial supply of vaccine, Collins said.
When asked for a timeline of the vaccine arriving in Prince Rupert Collins suggested checking the B.C. government COVID-19 vaccine page and distribution information for the current priorities, and general timelines for other groups and the general public.
B.C. has had confirmed cases of COVID-19 in every health region, in communities large and small, Collins said. Prince Rupert has had 16 cumulative lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the period of Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020.
Regardless of where confirmed cases are, people should be taking the same precautions she said such as staying at home if you have any symptoms of illness; washing hands often with soap and water; minimizing contact with others as much as possible when outside your home and wearing a mask when indoors and in close contact with others.
There are different classifications of covid case definitions according to the BCCDC website. These are:
A confirmed case – A person with laboratory confirmation of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 performed at a community, hospital, or reference laboratory (NML or a provincial public health laboratory) running a validated assay. This consists of the detection of at least one specific gene target by a NAAT assay (e.g. real-time PCR or nucleic acid sequencing).1-3
Probable – epi-linked case – When a person, who has not had a laboratory test, is presented with a fever (more than 38 C) or new onset of a cough or exacerbation of chronic cough, and close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19; Or has lived in or worked in a closed facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 (e.g. long-term care facility, prison).
A Probable – lab case is when a person who has had a laboratory test has a fever of more than 38 C, or new onset of a cough or exacerbation of chronic cough, and who meets the COVID-19 exposure criteria, and in whom a laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is inconclusive.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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