B.C. health officials provide update on COVID-19 in northern B.C.

B.C.’s minister of health, along with the provincial health officer and Northern Health’s chief medical health officer are providing an update on the situation with COVID-19 in northern B.C. at 3:15 p.m. today. Adrian Dix, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Jong Kim are hosting an unscheduled briefing, as data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows northern B.C. with four times the rate of new COVID-19 cases compared to other regions and hospitalizations more than double the provincial average. During a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Dix said the province had had to transfer 55 critical care patients to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island from hospitals in Northern Health. Forty-three of the 55 patients were COVID positive, he said, and 42 were not fully vaccinated. Dix said 14 of the transfers were over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the province had to contract two private airplanes to facilitate them. “The situation … is extremely serious,” he said. “Our staff [in northern hospitals] are doing simply epic work.” Thursday’s unscheduled COVID-19 update comes after Dr. Bonnie Henry said that she was considering placing additional restrictions on communities in northern B.C. where COVID-19 is spreading, in an effort to reduce strain on health-care workers in the region.

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