Terrace recorded 54 new COVID-19 cases between Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, 2021. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

Terrace recorded 54 new COVID-19 cases between Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, 2021. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)

Terrace records spike in new COVID-19 cases

Dr. Bonnie Henry said public health leaders are “very concerned” about the situation in the north

Terrace saw the number of new COVID-19 jump to 54 for the week of Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, 2021.

That is more than double the cases reported the previous week (Sept. 26 to Oct. 2). Kitimat saw an increase from 12 to 18 new cases and Prince Rupert’s number of new cases tripled from five to 15, according to the latest British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) data.

During the week of Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, Terrace and Kitimat’s average daily case rate was greater than 20 per 100,000 people, and Prince Rupert’s local health area (LHA), rate was 15.1 to 20 per 100,000.

Meanwhile, Smithers saw 73 new cases reported in the LHA, up from 56 the week before. There was one new case 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 nine new cases in Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek LHA, amid an outbreak in Tahltan communities.

Northern Health 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. There were 25 new cases in the Upper Skeena LHA.

Farther east, there were 31 new cases in Burns Lake, 65 in Nechako and 284 in Prince George.

According to the BCCDC, Kitimat has hit 85 per cent of eligible people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — the only LHA in Northern Health higher than the province-wide average of 83.4 per cent on Oct. 13.

See the Oct. 12 two-dose list below, per cent change from the previous week is indicated by brackets:

Kitimat — 85 per cent (+1)

Haida Gwaii — 82 per cent (+1)

Prince Rupert — 78 per cent (+1)

Nisga’a — 78 per cent (+1)

Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek — 76 per cent (+1)

Terrace — 75 per cent (+1)

Upper Skeena — 73 per cent (+2)

Smithers — 67 per cent (+1)

Province-wide, the vaccination rate for people aged 12 and older with second doses reached 83.4 per cent on Oct. 13.

B.C.’s health ministry transferred another 14 critically ill patients from Northern B.C. hospitals to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island over the Thanksgiving weekend, as spread of COVID-19 continues to overtax the health care system in areas where vaccination rates are lower.

A total of 55 critical care patients have been transferred from the Northern Health region since the fourth wave of coronavirus forced the restriction of surgeries and transfers to hospitals in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Oct. 12. Of those patients, 43 had active COVID-19 infections and all but one were not fully vaccinated, he said.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said public health leaders are “very concerned” about the situation in the North. Dix said two additional aircraft have been contracted to transfer patients to southern hospitals, after 23 additional critical care beds have been added, bringing the total for the Northern Health region to 63.

From Oct. 5-11, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 68.0% of cases in B.C. and from Sept. 28-Oct. 11, they accounted for 73.4% of hospitalizations

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. 23 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Prince Rupert Community Health Centre, or the CORE Space on Oct. 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. 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