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COVID-19: Additional restrictions placed on Northern Health area

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

With 103 new cases of COVID-19 in the North yesterday, 94 the day before, 60 the day before that, and 142 over the weekend it’s safe to say the fourth wave is upon us. Combine that with vaccination rates lower than the provincial average and it’s not a good picture.

It’s a picture that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry doesn’t like. To that end, she has imposed new health restrictions in the Northern Health region.

Effective Tuesday September 7:

  • Personal gatherings in your home will be limited to one additional family or 5 guests
  • Personal gatherings outside your home limited to a maximum of 50 people
  • Indoor events must have a safety plan (the organizer should have a safety plan, but is not required to submit one for approval)
  • Outside events, when more than 200 people, then have a safety plan
  • Sporting events with spectators, indoor and outdoor, must have a safety plan

“We are not seeing transmission in some of the areas that we’ve seen in other places, particularly not in restaurants or gyms or fitness centres,” Henry told northern reporters Thursday. “It’s not going to apply to youth and recreational sports, worship sports or educational activities.”

She said the province is focusing the restrictions on where they are seeing the most transmissions.

“I know this will be frustrating for some, particularly in communities where we haven’t seen transmission for a while,” she said. “This is exploded quite quickly and it spreads quite quickly.”

The push is also to get more people vaccinated as it is the best tool to fight against the pandemic.

“Ninety per cent of people in the ICU, in the North, have not yet been vaccinated,” she said. “We need to raise the alarm right now so people can take those steps to get vaccinated.

The province currently in Step 3 of the BC restart plan.

In the Restart step 3 and current PHO order on gatherings and events:

  • Indoor events  – maximum of 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater
  • Outside events – maximum of 5000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater
  • Outdoor spectator events: 5000 people or 50% capacity
  • Indoor spectator event: 50 people or 50% capacity   

Not restricted by either NH order or restart step 3/PHO order:

  • All indoor fitness classes allowed, normal capacity
  • Gyms and recreation facilities, normal capacity
  • Restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs (except for socialization between tables or dancing)
  • worship services or educational activities (K to 12 and post-secondary)

These measures will remain in place until Northern Health experiences lower cases and higher vaccination rates.

Most people are being exposed at personal social gatherings in private households and at private gatherings. The delta variant is leading to faster transmission and more severe outcomes for younger people. Immunization remains the most effective prevention against COVID-19.

“Getting immunized will help keep our hospitals open for treating people with other illnesses,” said Northern Health chief medical health officer Dr. Jong Kim. “These orders are a temporary way to help manage the spread of the virus, and the impact on the health system.”

How to get vaccinated

People can get their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by dropping in to any NH immunization clinic or by making an appointment.

To make an appointment, register online by visiting the provincial website at: www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca/, call 1‑833‑838‑2323, or visit a Service BC office listed here, and then book an appointment.

For a list of all Northern Health COVID-19 immunization clinics and other resources visit:https://www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/covid-19-immunization-clinics

 

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