There were 116 new COVID-19 cases in the Terrace local health area during the week of Jan. 9 to Jan 15, 2022. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

There were 116 new COVID-19 cases in the Terrace local health area during the week of Jan. 9 to Jan 15, 2022. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

Number of new COVID-19 cases remains high in northwest B.C.

Smithers reported nearly 300 new cases between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15

The Terrace local health area (LHA) saw 116 new COVID-19 cases during the week of Jan. 9 to Jan. 15, compared to 109 the week before.

Smithers saw both the most new cases and the largest increase in northwest B.C., going from 196 to 293, according to British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) data.

There were 51 new cases in Kitimat, 90 in Prince Rupert, 28 on Haida Gwaii, 40 in the Upper Skeena LHA and 13 in the Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek LHA. The Nisga’a LHA recorded five new cases.

Since the Omicron variant began spreading quickly in B.C., the completed tests represent a fraction of the actual infections, based on test positivity rates for the samples that have been processed. Rapid tests are being deployed in hospitals, care homes and schools to prompt isolation or further lab testing, which has also been reduced by people being away from work.

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 Jan. 18 list below, with weekly change from Jan. 11 indicated by brackets.

Haida Gwaii — 48 per cent (+2)

Nisga’a — 43 per cent (+0)

Upper Skeena — 39 per cent (+3)

Terrace — 39 per cent (+6)

Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek — 37 per cent (+3)

Kitimat — 36 per cent (+5)

Prince Rupert — 34 per cent (+9)

Smithers — 30 per cent (+7)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the first shipment of an oral COVID-19 pill is making its way across Canada but is no substitute for vaccination against the rapidly spreading virus.

The antiviral drug Paxlovid is meant to protect against hospitalization and death. Canada has purchased one million courses for delivery this year.

“It’s important to remember that this will be a powerful tool to continue to keep people from people getting extremely sick but it needs to be used right,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

“It’s not a replacement for getting vaccinated, for wearing masks, for staying safe, for keeping your distance.”

B.C. health authorities continue to operate scheduled appointment COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the province for residents age five and older. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done online, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.

— With files from the Canadian Press and Tom Fletcher

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