Weekly new cases of COVID-19 continue to skyrocket in the Smithers Local Health Area (LHA) according to the latest data released this afternoon (Sept 15).
For the week of Sept. 5 to 11, Eryn Collins, a spokesperson for Northern Health confirmed there were 117 new cases, up from 45 the week before.
This translates to a daily case rate of approximately 69 per 100,000 population according to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (CDC) COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard, one of the highest rates in the entire province.
The data between number of cases and case rates does not correlate perfectly because of the different ways in which cases and case rates are tabulated and reported. The daily case rate data — which the CDC uses in order to compare jurisdictions with very different population bases — is reported for the week of Sept. 7 to 13 compared to Sept. 5 to 11 for new cases.
Collins said she did not know why there is a discrepency in reporting.
Nevertheless, both new cases and daily case rate for Smithers are very high compared to other local health areas.
In the North, only Nechako LHA with 72 cases for the week of Sept. 5 – 11 has a higher daily case rate per 100,000 population than Smithers for Sept 7 – 13 at 71.
Comparing other LHAs in the Northwest, last week Terrace had 17 cases, Upper Skeena 5, Nisga’a 3, Prince Rupert 2, Kitimat 3 and Haida Gwaii 0. The combined LHAs of Snow Country, Stikine and Telegraph Creek reported 2 cases.
Meanwhile, the Smithers LHA lags way behind other jurisdictions in vaccination rates.
As of today, Sept. 15, in the LHA as a whole, 73 per cent of residents aged 12 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Only 62 per cent are fully vaccinated.
There is also a rural-urban divide represented in those numbers. Broken down by Community Health Service Area (CHSA), of which there are three in the Smithers LHA, Smithers Town Centre now has 79 per cent of the population vaccinated with first doses and 69 per cent with two doses.
Houston lags behind that at 71 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.
The percentages decline even further in the Smithers Rural CHSA where 68 per cent have had a single dose and 57 per cent have had both.