Medical staff at Bulkley Valley District Hospital urge everyone to continue to follow public health guidelines while vaccination program proceeds. (File photo)

Medical staff at Bulkley Valley District Hospital urge everyone to continue to follow public health guidelines while vaccination program proceeds. (File photo)

Local MD Update: A year of COVID-19

Smithers doctors urge getting vaccinated, but staying the course in the meantime

As we pass the one year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s take a moment to reflect on the changes and struggles endured. Let’s also start looking forward to the future.

Smithers began it’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic this week and started vaccinating our community members over 70, in an age-based approach. If you or someone you know is over 70 and have not signed up to be vaccinated, please do.

The rollout in Northern health communities is different then the rest of the province, so please continue to listen to the local news and go to the Northern Health website for the latest information. The information can be found here and the number to call to book appointments is 844-255-7555.

This vaccination clinic is currently being run out of Coast Mountain College Campus. If you have any questions about the vaccination please discuss it with your family doctor or visit the website above.

Although, this is an exciting more forward, we are not in the clear. Our local numbers from last week are significantly up compared to the week before at 19 cases between March 14 and 20.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert has reached 85% vaccination mark

Cases in the province continue to rise, with the daily numbers the highest they have been since January. The communities to the west of us have been hit hard with COVID outbreaks and we must continue to do everything we can to avoid similar happening in Smithers. This means following public health guidelines, wearing a mask, washing our hands, social distancing and staying home if we are sick.

With the rising numbers in the Northwest and the lack of bed space to treat these high numbers of sick patients in the Infectious Disease Unit in Terrace, Bulkley Valley District Hospital is in the process of creating dedicated COVID beds to accept and care for COVID positive patients requiring hospitalization within Northern Health.

READ MORE: COVID cases spike in Smithers Local Health Area with 19 from March 14 – 20

Over the last few weeks, doctors at Bulkley Valley District Hospital have been caring for COVID positive patients within our hospital and there will now be a designated beds to treat these patients, while protecting other patients and workers in the hospital.

Again we continue to stress following public health guidelines of wearing a mask, hand washing, social distancing, staying home if sick and limiting outdoor gatherings to 10 people. This is how we have brought our numbers under control before and this is how we will continue to combat this virus.

Over the last year the global medical community has been looking for ways to treat COVID-19. Currently there are no approved medications for patients in the community to treat this virus. However, the Centres for Disease Control in BC and Canada continue to look at the evidence for all options for COVID treatment, including hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, ivermectin and many others.

Unfortunately, so far there are very few treatments proven to be helpful other than prevention with vaccines. As with everything involving this novel virus we are always learning.

The British Columbia COVID-19 Therapeutics Committee (CTC) meets weekly to discuss the most current research on the use of therapies in the management of COVID19. Here is a link.

Again, thank you for all the efforts done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the support shown to all of the frontline workers.

Bulkley Valley Medical Group

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