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Pandemic claims another life in northern B.C.

46 northerners in hospital; active cases near 1,000

The COVID-19 pandemic claimed another life in the Northern Health region, the B.C. Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday.

The death was the only COVID-related death reported in B.C. on Tuesday, and brought the province’s death toll from the pandemic to 1,866 – including 165 residents of the Northern Health region.

The region has now surpassed 10,000 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The north saw 99 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Tuesday, and the number of active cases in the region increase by 33 to a total of 964.

As of Tuesday, 46 people in the north were hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 14 were listed in intensive care by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Northern Health now has the highest rate of COVID-19 infections per capita in the province, Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Tuesday. Northern B.C. also has the lowest rate of rate of vaccination in the province, with only 74% of eligible northerners (ages 12 and older) having gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“Those numbers are very challenging,” Dix said. “I want to encourage everyone in the north to get vaccinated.”

Vaccination rates across the north varied considerably by region. 

In the Peace River South local health area, only 58% of eligible people have gotten a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 49% were fully vaccinated as of Sept. 9, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. In the North Peace, 50% were considered fully vaccinated with two doses, while 60% are reported as having one dose.

In the Kitimat local health area 94% had received at least one dose and 80% were fully vaccinated. In the Prince George local health area, which includes Mackenzie and the Robson Valley, 79% of eligible people had received at least one dose and 70% were fully vaccinated as of Sept. 9. 

As of Tuesday, 86% of eligible British Columbians had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 78.5% were fully vaccinated.

A total of 677 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in B.C on Tuesday, and there were 6,165 active cases. Of those cases, 288 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 140 in intensive care.

Of those 140 people in intensive care with COVID-19, 121 were unvaccinated adults, Dix said. The province has just over 500 regular intensive care beds available across all health regions, he added.

“(A) large percentage of people in ICU in B.C. are unvaccinated people dealing with COVID-19,” he said.

— Prince George Citizen