There were 114 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the Terrace local health area during the week of Feb. 6 to Feb. 12, 2022. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

There were 114 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the Terrace local health area during the week of Feb. 6 to Feb. 12, 2022. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

Terrace leads northwest B.C. in new COVID-19 cases with 114

Nearly half of Terrace residents aged 12 and over have received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine

The Terrace local health area (LHA) saw an increase to 114 new COVID-19 cases during the week of Feb. 6 to Feb. 12, compared to 99 the week before.

Smithers registered a decrease in new cases for the fourth straight week, going from 52 to 35 new cases, according to British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) data.

There were 28 new cases in Kitimat, 64 in Prince Rupert, 13 on Haida Gwaii, 12 in the Upper Skeena LHA and 14 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.

Vaccination rates in B.C. remain high with 90.3 per cent of eligible people aged five and older receiving at least one dose of vaccine and 84.7 with their second dose. Half of eligible British Columbians have received a booster dose.

Third doses of COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in clinics and pharmacies around the northwest, with Haida Gwaii and Kitimat LHAs leading the region in percentage of people aged 12 and up with three doses. See the Feb. 15 list below, with weekly change from Feb. 8 indicated by brackets.

Haida Gwaii — 56 per cent (+1)

Nisga’a – 52 per cent (+1)

Kitimat – 51 per cent (+1)

Prince Rupert – 51 per cent (+2)

Terrace – 49 per cent (+1)

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

Upper Skeena – 47 per cent (+1)

Smithers – 43 per cent (+1)

The province lifted most COVID-19 restrictions as of 11:59 p.m on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

B.C. removed rules around indoor personal gatherings, returned indoor seated events to full capacity, allowed full capacity and dancing for indoor and outdoor organized gatherings, allowed full capacity at fitness centres and dance clubs, nixed tournament restrictions and allowed full capacity with mingling and no table limits for restaurants and bars. Nightclubs, closed through much of the pandemic, are also be allowed to reopen.

Health officials said that the mask mandates for indoor public spaces and the use of the vaccine card still apply to restaurants, bars, organized events, fitness facilities and anywhere else where they were previously required.

Other restrictions such as COVID-19 safety plans, long-term care visitation rules, K-12 and child care guidelines, faith community guidelines, restrictions on child and youth overnight camps and industrial camps remain. Those restrictions will be reassessed by March 15 and April 2.

Heath officials said that the lessening of restrictions has been made possible by B.C.’s high vaccination rate, with more than 90 per cent of people ages five and up have received their first dose and more than 85 per cent have received their second dose. A further nearly 53 per cent of people ages 12 and up have received a third dose.

“The reality is that this virus continues to circulate and because we have have a high level of immunity through immunization, for most people that doesn’t lead to a serious infection,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Feb. 15.

The move to lessen restrictions, officials said, is meant to mitigate risks and move B.C. eventually to the end of the pandemic while not overwhelming the health care system. Currently, about 800 people are in hospital with COVID-19.

Henry said that when seasonal diseases, such as the flu and RSV, return in the fall, COVID-19 will likely also need to be managed.

“I don’t believe we’ll have to go back to broad societal measures” to control COVID, she added.

With files from Katya Slepian

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