There were 46 new COVID-19 cases reported in the Terrace local health area during the week of Feb. 20 to Feb. 26, 2022. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

There were 46 new COVID-19 cases reported in the Terrace local health area during the week of Feb. 20 to Feb. 26, 2022. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

New COVID-19 cases in northwest B.C. dropping

Terrace leads the region in new cases with 46 between Feb. 20 and Feb. 26

The Terrace local health area (LHA) saw 46 new COVID-19 cases during the week of Feb. 20 to Feb. 26, down from 58 the week before.

The Upper Skeena area registered the lowest number of new cases in the northwest with four, according to British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) data.

There were eight new cases in Kitimat, seven in Prince Rupert, 13 on Haida Gwaii, 11 in Smithers and 6 in the Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek LHA. The Nisga’a LHA recorded four new cases.

Access to testing remains limited across the province, so case counts are not representative of the full scope of COVID-19 infections in B.C. Rapid antigen tests are becoming more widely available, however positive rapid test results must be self-reported to the BCCDC to be counted in official statistics.

Third doses of COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in clinics and pharmacies around the northwest, with Haida Gwaii and Nisga’a LHAs leading the region in percentage of people aged 12 and up with three doses. See the Mar. 1 list below, with weekly change from Feb. 22 indicated by brackets.

Haida Gwaii — 57 per cent (+1)

Nisga’a – 53 per cent (+1)

Kitimat – 52 per cent (+1)

Prince Rupert – 52 per cent (+2)

Terrace – 51 per cent (+1)

Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek – 48 per cent (+1)

Upper Skeena – 48 per cent (+0)

Smithers – 44 per cent (+1)

B.C.’s trend of declining COVID-19 hospitalizations continued Wednesday (March 2) as the number of people in ICU hit its lowest level since 2022 began.

The province reported 517 people in hospital with COVID-19, 73 of whom are in ICU, down from 523 and 83 yesterday. Those numbers reflect everyone in hospital who is COVID positive and does not mean that each of them is hospitalized because of the virus.

All five of B.C.’s regional health authorities are rebooking postponed surgeries after more than 8,000 patients were kept waiting since late September by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Minister Adrian Dix says.

With the fourth wave of COVID-19 declining, nearly half of those delayed procedures have been completed and fewer are being postponed, Dix said at a pandemic briefing from Victoria March 1. Almost all of the postponed surgeries from previous waves of the pandemic have been caught up, with fewer health care staff in acute care, long-term care and home support taking sick days themselves as the Omicron wave of infections declines, he said.

At that briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that the COVID-19 situation in B.C. is improving “rapidly” and the province will provide an update on easing measures soon.

Henry added that the province removes restrictions and layers of protection when they feel confident to do so. B.C. has noticed a trend in COVID cases declining during the warmer months when more people are outside. However, Henry cautioned that COVID cases could surge again in the fall.

Although the province is eyeing changes in the near future, Henry said that the province will continue to conduct whole genome sequencing to monitor for new variants, expand wastewater testing to check for the prevalence of COVID and randomly sample routine blood collections for COVID. This is on top of B.C.’s testing program of PCR and rapid antigen tests.

READ MORE: B.C. looks to potentially ease COVID measures by Spring Break

With files from Cole Schisler and Tom Fletcher