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Northern Health region getting significant donations for pandemic response

The Northern Health region is getting significant donations to help it cope with the COVID-19, thanks to LNG development in B.C.
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Like all health regions in B.C., Northern Health says it needs more personal protective equipment. | iStock

The Northern Health region is getting significant donations to help it cope with the COVID-19, thanks to LNG development in B.C.

LNG Canada has announced it will donate $500,000, with half of the money earmarked for Northern Health for procurement of equipment for the communities of Kitimat and Terrace. The rest will go to hospitals, First Nations, front-line workers and service organizations in the north.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is putting tremendous stress on our communities and we’re hoping our contribution today will assist in collective efforts to protect people through prevention and care,” LNG Canada CEO Peter Zebedee said in a press release.

The LNG Canada donation follows an earlier announcement by the Haisla First Nation that it would be donating $300,000 to the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation.

There are roughly 300,000 people in the Northern Health region, which has two dozen hospitals. As of April 14, there were a total of 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 21 people recovered, and three are in hospital.

Northern Health Spokesperson Eryn Collins said the health region does need more personal protective equipment for front-line workers.

Meanwhile, Coastal GasLink announced a $100,000 donation and partnership with United Way of Northern BC. Petronas also made a $50,000 donation.

The donations will help UWNBC in its effort to support the needs of the most venerable in our communities, seniors in isolation, our homeless, those struggling with mental health/ addictions and those needing food support due to COVID-19.

The Fort St. John Hospital Foundation meanwhile has implemented a COVID-19 Greatest Need Fund as a proactive response in line with the announcement that the Fort St. John Hospital is designated a primary COVID-19 hospital for northern B.C. to deliver care to the most critically-ill patients from around the province.

“The health of those who use the many services of our Hospital is a top priority. This pandemic is evolving daily and now, more than ever the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation will continue to respond to the shifts and changes in anticipation of the emergent needs,” said Executive Director Niki Hedges.

“The Fort St John Hospital Foundation is in place as part of the strategic response needed now and for post-pandemic recovery. This current situation places unique demands on Hospital services, supplies, equipment and on staff. The fund is in place so we can ensure our hospital has priority supplies and equipment for the coming weeks, months and in the year to come after this pandemic."

— with a report from Nelson Bennett in Vancouver and Arron Linklater in Dawson Creek

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.