COVID-19 cases numbers continue to decline in the Northern Health Authority Region with no lab-confirmed cases in the Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Nisga’a, and Haida Gwaii areas for the last reporting period of May 23 to 29.
Epidemiological maps are updated by the Public Health Reporting Data Warehouse every Wednesday, for the previous Sunday to Saturday period.
Mapping shows very few cases between Prince Rupert and Burns Lake region, with just two lab-confirmed cases in Terrace and one in Smithers. Burns Lake has zero cases for the time period.
With virus cases on the decrease, immunizations are on the increase with second dose vaccinations starting in Prince Rupert on June 14. The area has experienced a total of 820 lab-confirmed cases since the pandemic began. The city remained relatively virus-free until a surge in December and January caused health authorities and government officials to take note, voice concern and organize the province’s first mass community vaccination clinic in March. Just less than 10,000 vaccinations were administered during the seven-day event with just more than 85 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated with a first shot.
Neighbouring Terrace has seen 790 cases, Kitimat 204, Nisga’a 194 and Haida Gwaii 142 since the pandemic infiltrated immunity in March of 2020, with more than 145,049 across the province.
Deaths from the virus have been recorded at 1,710 across the province according to the CDC website.
Seventeen residents in Acropolis Manor, Prince Rupert’s long-term care facility and seniors’ homes passed away from the virus during two outbreaks. Public health authorities do not publish local case information if there is a risk to patient privacy.
The just over 18 month battle with the global pandemic has seen 14,835 people in British Columbia recover from the virus and 3,488,884 vaccines administered province-wide up to June 4, 2021.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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Teenagers lined up outside the health unit in downtown Prince Rupert on May 31, at the first COVID-19 vaccination youth drop-in clinic. The lineup started an hour before the doors opened.
More than 125 immunizations were administered in half the time of a normal clinic day on Monday, Julia Pemberton, health services administrator in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, said.
“Yesterday we saw an exceptional turn out for our youth clinic,” Pemberton said.
Some youth were immunized last week if their parents or guardians had vaccination appointments.
High school student Chantelle Vera was at the clinic of her own volition and was eager to get to the vaccination.
“I came to take the vaccine today because after seeing the numbers of COVID victims go up and up, I could only imagine the losses families here and around the world have suffered due to the pandemic,” she said.
“I’ve lost a family member to this virus and hearing the experiences people have had with COVID, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
Vera said she wants to help reduce the numbers and protect her family and those around her
“If taking a small needle can make a huge difference, then count me in,” the teen said.
She said she is sure everyone wants the pandemic to end so they are able to do fun activities with family and friends again.
“To make a change, we all have to come together and do our best to fight against COVID-19. I suggest taking action by getting vaccinated, continue to social distance, and be safe,” Vera said.
Pemberton said she is thrilled to see the community of Prince Rupert show up and do their part in beating COVID-19.
“Our second dose mass community clinic is fully booked for the first week and we are looking to see how we can open more appointments to meet the need,” she said of the adult vaccination clinics starting June 14, in the city.
“At this rate the community has the potential to be fully vaccinated before the July 1st holiday putting Prince Rupert ahead of the provincial re-opening targets.”
Pemberton said the community is ahead of the 16-week second dose interval with most appointments being completed closer to the 12-week mark.