A dramatic plummet can be seen in the Prince Rupert area of the Northern Health Authority district with COVID-19 cases dropping to just three for the week of April 11 to 17.
The BC Center for Disease Control epidemiology mapping shows a decrease of 24 cases from the week prior in the region. However, cases in Terrace increased to 29, with Kitimat at 11, and the Nass Valley at five. Haida Gwaii is reported to have had just one case.
Dr. Rakel Kling, medical health officer for Northern Health, said the marked differences in case numbers are pleasing to see and attributes the drop partially to the vaccination clinics held in Prince Rupert during March.
“I do think, first of all, the vaccine campaign clinics were really successful. We had a huge proportion of the community get vaccinated. A large number of the community really came together to support the vaccine clinics, which was great to see.”
“We don’t know for sure exactly what happened on the ground [regarding the decrease]. I hope that it meant that the community really took it seriously and took the fact that COVID was circulating really seriously as there were really solid public health measures in addition to getting vaccinated.”
In a joint media statement issued on April 21, by Dr. Bonnie Henry provincial medical health officer, and Health Minister Adrian Dix stated that all is being done to break the chains of transmission in communities to slow down COVID-19.
“One of the steps we are taking is the Workplace Closure public health order, which gives WorkSafeBC the ability to close businesses for at least 10 days under the direction of health authority medical health officers,” the statement said.
“Through this order, we are helping to prevent transmission at work, supporting businesses to ensure workplaces are safe for everyone and ensuring people do not unintentionally spread the virus to colleagues or bring COVID-19 back home to their families.
Kling said no workplaces in the Northern Health region have had to be shut down yet. Northern Health works closely in collaboration with WorkSafe BC and the information being distributed is really just guidance, she said.
“We don’t have to close workplaces with three or more cases. It’s just a trigger for us to go into the workplace and support them a bit and ensure that they have good COVID protocols,” Kling said. “Then if needed, if things are looking really bad, if that extra step is needed, then we might go in and shut them down.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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