Northwest B.C. had a comparatively lower per capita daily rate of new COVID-19 cases compared to most of the north and central parts of the province between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2, 2021. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

Northwest B.C. had a comparatively lower per capita daily rate of new COVID-19 cases compared to most of the north and central parts of the province between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2, 2021. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

New COVID-19 cases remain steady in northwest B.C.

Northern Health is offering drop-in vaccine clinics in Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert

Despite identifying new cases between Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, northwest B.C.’s per capita rate of new COVID-19 cases is lower than most of the northern portion of the province.

Terrace recorded 24 new cases, one case more than the previous week (Sept. 19 to Sept. 25). Kitimat saw a drop from 17 to 12 new cases and Price Rupert remained level at five new cases, according to the latest British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) data.

During the week of Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, Terrace and Kitimat’s average daily case rate was 10.1 to 15 per 100,000 people, and Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii and Nisga’a local health areas (LHA), rate was 5.1 to 10 per 100,000.

Meanwhile, Smithers saw 56 new cases reported in the LHA, down from 68 the week before. There were two new cases on Haida Gwaii and one in the Nisga’a LHA.

The BCCDC figures for the Nass Valley may differ from the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority’s statistics because of differences in the way those organizations report cases.

There were eight new cases in Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek LHA, amid an outbreak in Tahltan communities.

In order to stem the spread, Newcrest Mining and the Tahltan Nation COVID-19 Emergency Management Team (TNCEMT) completed widespread asymptomatic testing at the Community Hall in Dease Lake and the Iskut Band Office on Oct. 4.

The TNCEMT has identified three clusters of COVID-19 cases in the area and expects the number of positive cases to rise.

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Wrinch Memorial Hospital (WMH) in Hazelton on Sept. 28 after four patients in the acute care and long-term care units tested positive for the virus.

The health authority has yet to confirm if the patients who tested positive were vaccinated or not, but did say enhanced outbreak control measures are in place at Wrinch. There were 27 new cases in the Upper Skeena LHA.

Farther east, there were 28 new cases in Burns Lake, 94 in Nechako and 328 in Prince George.

According to the BCCDC, as of Oct. 5, Kitimat has hit 84 per cent of eligible people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while Prince Rupert is at 77 per cent, and Terrace is at 74 per cent.

See the two-dose list below, per cent change from the previous week is indicated by brackets:

Kitimat — 84 per cent (+2)

Haida Gwaii — 81 per cent (+0)

Prince Rupert — 77 per cent (+1)

Nisga’a — 77 per cent (+1)

Upper Skeena — 71 per cent (+1)

Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek — 75 per cent (+1)

Terrace — 74 per cent (+1)

Smithers — 66 per cent (+1)

Province-wide, the vaccination rate for people aged 12 and older with second doses reached 81.9 per cent on Oct. 6.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Oct. 4 that 32 seriously ill people have been moved out of Northern Health hospitals to Vancouver Island, Fraser and Vancouver Coastal. Of those patients, 26 are COVID-19 cases and none are fully vaccinated, he said.

From Sept. 24-30, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 71.5% of cases and from Sept. 17-30, they accounted for 81.4% of hospitalizations. There were 383 people hospitalized with COVID-29 from Sept. 17-30, with vaccine status as follows:

• Not vaccinated: 272 (71.0%)

• Partially vaccinated: 40 (10.4%)

• Fully vaccinated: 71 (18.5%)

Northern Health is booking vaccine appointments and offering drop-in clinics for first and second doses. People in Prince Rupert can visit the drop-in clinic Oct. 9 and Oct. 23 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Prince Rupert Community Health Centre, or the CORE Space on Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In Kitimat, people can get vaccinated at the Kitimat General Hospital Multi-purpose Room on Oct. 13, 20 and 27 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The Terrace Health Centre is taking drop-ins on weekdays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

For more information or to book an appointment, visit the Northern Health website or call 1-833-838-2323.

—With files from Tom Fletcher, Thom Barker and Binny Paul