(Files by Brody Langager-MyPGNow)
Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced new restrictions for the Northern Health region as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
The restrictions begin at midnight (Thursday), will be in place until November 19th, and may be extended if cases remain high or vaccinations remain low:
- Personal gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are restricted to fully vaccinated people, including at private residences and vacation accommodation
- Indoor gathering: up to 5 people are permitted
- Outdoor gathering: up to 25 people are permitted
- All indoor and outdoor organized events require a safety plan and for attendees to wear a mask and present their BC Vaccine Card showing they are fully vaccinated
- Indoor event: up to 50 people are permitted
- Outdoor event: up to 100 people are permitted
- Worship services: virtual services are required
- Fast-food restaurants and unlicensed cafés without table service can provide take-out only or require patrons to present the BC Vaccine card showing they are fully vaccinated.
- Licensed establishments and those with table service must not serve alcohol between 10 pm-9 am and must require patrons to present the BC Vaccine Card showing they are fully vaccinated.
- Bars and nightclubs (no meal service) will be closed
- Sport events spectators (indoor and outdoor) are limited to 50% capacity, must have a safety plan, and require attendees to wear masks and present their BC Vaccine Card showing they are fully vaccinated
Communities exempt from these new restrictions in Northern Health are those located west of Kitwanga: Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Stikine, Telegraph Creek, Snow Country, and Nisga’a.
Dix said these restrictions are in place to help mitigate the strain on the healthcare system in the north.
“We are under immense pressure in our facilities that is fueled by an unvaccinated population,” said Northern Health president and CEO, Cathy Ulrich.
“We continue to encourage all people age 12 and up to get immunized.”
58 people in the ICU have been transported out of Northern Health, 45 have the virus, only one was fully vaccinated.
“Hospitals in Northern Health are overstretched as beds become filled with COVID-19 patients, primarily unvaccinated. People needing critical care are being transferred to other regions of the province,” said Northern Health chief medical health officer Dr. Jong Kim.
Dix said in some cases people were moved up to 900 kilometres away from their homes to get treatment.
“It is a power and profound thing, something we would not wish on anybody. They are sick, desperately ill, and it’s been 58 so far,” said Dix.
Henry said someone in the north who was in their 20’s died due to the virus today, and Dix said people are underestimating COVID-19.
“This is the time to get vaccinated. You need to take this seriously. You need to take it seriously for your own health, someone passed away in their 20’s in the north today, and you can imagine how their families grieve.”