BC’s provincial health officer has announced much stricter measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the northern BC.
It comes the same day as Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed that a person in his 20s died of the virus in the northern BC.
The measures take effect at midnight on October 14 and include a ban on unvaccinated people attending indoor and outdoor personal gatherings.
Those who are not vaccinated may only spend time with people in their household.
There will be a limit of five people at personal indoor gatherings as long as everyone is vaccinated and a limit of 25 fully vaccinated people at personal outdoor gatherings.
This notice only applies to communities in Northern Health east of Kitwanga where vaccination rates are lower.
Health Minister Adrian Dix described the situation in the north as “a huge challenge” not only for the region but for the whole province.
“Fifty-eight people have been flown from the north to hospitals either in Island Health, in the majority or in Metro Vancouver.”
Of the 58, 45 had COVID-19. All but one of the COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.
Henry also said organized indoor and outdoor events require a COVID-19 safety plan. Everyone at these events must be masked and can only be accessed if they have a BC vaccine card.
Indoor organized events must not have more than 50 people in the north; Outdoor organized events can have a capacity of 100.
In addition, Henry said worship services can only take place virtually. Bars in the northeast of Kitwanga are due to close and restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol after 10pm
These measures will remain in place until Nov. 19, according to Henry.
Dix stressed that the province will do everything it can to help people in the north cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
He pointed out that all the patients who have been transferred are very ill. And not everyone had COVID-19, but they had to be relocated because there was no room at the local hospitals.
“It’s a strong and profound thing – something we would not wish on anyone,” Dix said.
There were a further 129 new cases of COVID-19 in Northern Health during the last 24 hours, raising the total number of active cases in this region to 677.
Throughout BC, there were 580 new cases of COVID-19 during the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases to 5,348.
Of those, 378 are in the hospital and 153 of them are in intensive care.
There were nine deaths linked to COVID-19 during the last 24 hours, bringing the province to a total of 2,042 since the pandemic began.