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)

Bulkley Valley medical staff urges vaccination and to follow guidelines

Letter signed by 23 local health professionals notes hospital is being overwhelmed

There were 117 new cases of covid reported this last week in Smithers, and this only reflects those getting tested. The actual case count is likely much higher, and there is no sign of this outbreak slowing.

As a community, we continue to have one of the highest numbers of cases per population in the entire province at 69 cases per 100,000 population daily, and one of the lowest rates of vaccination at 62 per cent of our eligible population being fully vaccinated.

This has led to an overwhelming number of sick, mostly unvaccinated patients requiring care in our ER and admission to our ward. We are doing our best to increase capacity, but sadly, this influx is putting a strain on staffing and on patient care in other areas such as maternity and non-COVID-related admissions.

The situation has become so dire that, for the next three days, labouring women and those needing C-section will be diverted to Terrace.

As a medical staff, we want to send a strong message to the community that getting vaccinated now and following public health guidelines is essential to slow this outbreak. All of the undersigned physicians and allied health care providers believe without hesitation that vaccination is safe and effective, and we encourage each and every one of you to get vaccinated without delay.

It is heartbreaking for us to see our patients getting so sick, and to know that this is preventable with vaccination.

To those of you who have been vaccinated and are following public health guidelines, we sincerely thank you.

If you are sick, get tested, and self-isolate until you get your results. If you or a close contact has been diagnosed with COVID, it is essential that you follow isolation guidelines to avoid infecting others.

Guidance can be found here:

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/self-isolation

The Smithers and Houston vaccination clinic schedules can be found here:

COVID-19 immunization clinics | Northern Health

Current local case counts and vaccination rates:

COVID-19 Regional Surveillance Dashboard (bccdc.ca)

Northern Health public health guidelines:

New health measures introduced for Northern Health region | BC Gov News

Your dedicated team of health care providers,

Dr Barnard

Dr Blackstock

Dr Eustace

Dr Flynn

Dr Froese

Dr Haskins

Dr Jakubec

Dr Knight

Dr Kruithof

Dr Laskowski

Dr Morkel

Dr Niethammer

Dr Page

Dr Preto

Dr Pretorius

Dr Quinn

Dr Smith

Dr Steel

Dr Woudstra

Dr Yeker

Dr Vestevik

Dr Strauss

Brandin Lilgert, NP

Bobbie Adkins, RM