Northern Health appears to be struggling.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Doctor Bonnie Henry addressed their concerns with the state of the Northern B.C. health care system during a news conference today (Tuesday).

“These exceptionally high case rates are translating into hospitalizations and putting significant pressure on our ICU capacity and health workers. The north is being overstretched by COVID-19,” said Dix.

“Our commitment to ensure people in the north get the COVID care they need have required us to make the difficult decision to transfer patients from the north to Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver for critical care.”

Twelve patients have already been transferred, nine of which have the virus.

Dix adds that vaccination rates in Northern Health are lower in some areas, saying that the northeast has 61.2% of those 12 and up getting their first dose, and 50.5% fully vaccinated and that the consequences of these actions show in hospitalization numbers.

He also states that the province has been taking steps with the mask mandate and vaccine card to try and push back the number of infections in the province, but the most obvious solution is right in front of everyone.

“These are the steps that we are taking, the tools we are taking to help deal with COVID-19, but the most effective one, you can see it, you can see it in the numbers every day of those seriously ill is to get vaccinated.”

Dix said that the impacts of people filling up hospitals have caused 798 surgical postponements from September 5th to the 18th.

He added that only 5% of the people in ICU with COVID-19 are fully vaccinated.

Henry said there is misinformation circulating around BC, and very directed disinformation.

“There are some communities where there’s real resistance and fear about immunization. There’s also some communities where some leaders, whether its faith leaders or community leaders are actively against vaccination.”

“It (COVID-19) can spread very rapidly, and very rapidly to people who may end up in hospital. And we hear that from some people, that there’s a small proportion of people who are still in denial even when they’re in hospital and ICU that it actually is COVID that’s making them sick. ”

Henry adds that the vaccine in no way affects fertility in either men or women.

She also asked pregnant women across BC to consider getting vaccinated and to reach out and get the information they need.

“Over 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the United States, and a study very recently came out looking at outcomes, and no major side effects have been identified. And importantly, safety data shows pregnant people have the same mostly mild side effects as everyone else.”

She also said that parents in BC will be receiving notifications in the coming weeks about COVID-19 cases in schools.

Henry added they are working towards rolling out vaccines for kids, adding that initial studies are positive.