While the Smithers Local Health Area enjoyed a summer relatively unscathed by the fourth wave of COVID-19, the latest case numbers from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) indicate it has arrived in the Bulkley Valley in force.
Last week (Aug. 31 – Sept. 6), Northern Health reported 45 new infections of the disease largely driven by the Delta variant, which is more contagious and causing more serious symptoms primarily in unvaccinated adults according to health authorities.
In a letter to the Interior News local physician Dr. L. Eustace noted 82.4 per cent of cases and 86.4 per cent of hospitalizations between Aug. 11 and 24 were patients who had not been fully vaccinated.
The first week of September numbers are more than double the previous week during which 17 cases were reported.
This reflects a trend that is sweeping northern B.C. with the CDC reporting 98 new cases today (Sept. 10) in the Northern Health Region for a total of 752 active cases, 32 of whom are hospitalized with 12 in critical care.
Meanwhile, the vaccination rate in the LHA remains low compared to the province as a whole. In the LHA, which covers Houston through to Witset, 71 per cent of people 12 years of age and older have received at least one shot and 61 per cent are fully vaccinated.