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COVID-19 outbreak reported on Haida Gwaii

Northern Health is warning about an outbreak of COVID-19 on Haida Gwaii. On Friday, the health authority issued a statement saying there have been 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island – 12 of which are currently active.
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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

Northern Health is warning about an outbreak of COVID-19 on Haida Gwaii.

On Friday, the health authority issued a statement saying there have been 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island – 12 of which are currently active.

"All of the cases are epidemiologically linked; while the initial sources of transmission are still being investigated, it is believed that all cases are either residents who had recently travelled off-island or had exposure to other residents who had recently travelled off-island," the statement said. "All of the active cases are self-isolating at home, and clear processes are in place for identifying and informing close contacts, so they can take appropriate precautions. There is no evidence at this time of wider community transmission of COVID-19 on Haida Gwaii. "

Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority are working with the Haida Nation and local governments on Haida Gwaii to coordinate community responses.

"Everyone’s priority should be to bend the curve on Haida Gwaii, with a focus on preventing spread to more vulnerable individuals by taking proper precautions," the statement said.

In a joint statement on Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced two new cases in the Northern Health region, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 79.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported on Friday there were 12 active cases in the north, suggesting all the active cases in northern B.C. as of Friday are on Haida Gwaii.

In addition, there was one worker from Alberta in quarantine with COVID-19 at the Site C work camp near Fort St. John. COVID-19 cases are reported in the jurisdiction where a person lives, so that case will be reported in Alberta's statistics.

"Today, we are reporting 27 new cases, including one epi-linked case, for a total of 3,419 cases in British Columbia," the joint statement said. "There are 294 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 2,934 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the total COVID-19 cases, 12 individuals are hospitalized, three of whom are in intensive care."

Henry and Dix reported one additional death from COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the province's death toll from the pandemic to 191. No deaths linked to COVID-19 have been reported in the north.

New health orders regarding rental accommodation and houseboats will be coming soon, the statement said.

"Similar to the case in restaurants, the number of people will be determined by the size of the space to ensure safe social interactions for everyone," the joint statement said. "There also continues to be additional community exposure events throughout the province, including at Fossello's clothing store in Kelowna. A full listing of community exposure events for each health authority is available through the BC Centre for Disease Control, as well as on health authority websites."

The list of exposure events in the Northern Health region can be found online here: https://www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/outbreaks-and-exposures?keys=outbreak. As of Friday, there were no exposure events reported.

 

"As we all enjoy our summer, we can reduce the potential for COVID-19 to spread by taking the time to assess the risks before spending time with others," the joint statement said. "This weekend, be mindful of where you are going and who you are seeing, assess your own risks and take steps to protect yourself and those you care for most. Let's keep our firewall strong and bend our curve back down."