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Henry orders slow, phased restart for northern industrial camps after holidays

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Government of B.C. photo

Industrial work camps will have a slow, phased return of workers after Christmas.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry

“We’ve had challenges in the North and some of those challenges have been related to outbreaks that we’ve reported on in a number of the industrial work camps in the Northern Health region,” Henry said Wednesday.

A new health order, effective today, will require work camps to do a phased, slower start up in January. She said at the start of the year work at the camps usually ramp up, which means workers travelling back to the camps from other areas in B.C. and elsewhere.

“This large movement of people means a much higher potential for spread, both amongst employees but also into communities along the areas where the industrial camps in the North,” she said. “Right now, we know Northern Health is stretched, both from a public health perspective trying to manage and support communities but also our health system where there a number of people both in hospital and in ICU in the North.

“We are already seeing a number of communities in the North under strain.”

The order, she said, will help to ease that strain on the health care system.

“That will happen so we are not putting our communities at risk in January,” she said.

 

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