Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Message is ... Get Vaccinated! Northern Health to host Virtual COVID Town Hall tonight at 6PM

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Public Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry hosted a wide ranging information session on Tuesday, providing for the latest data on COVID situations across the province and once again reinforcing the emphasis now on the urgency of the moment for British Columbians to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.

Doctor Henry introduced a number of new or updated COVID related Public heath measures mainly related to gatherings or work situations, many of which are specific to the Easter Fraser Health region which like areas of Northern British Columbia has a low vaccination rate.

Areas related to the presentations focused mostly towards vaccine effectiveness and an update on the pace of vaccination which has passed beyond 7 million doses of either first or second doses of COVID Vaccine in the province.

With the impact of COVID on children now of some significant focus, a good portion of the half hour presentation was related to that data overview. The findings something that Doctor Henry referred to as a growing concern

As of today Doctor Henry noted that information for Schools will now be relayed through the individual Health Authority websites, something that was done last year, which they will now be reviving.

That change to the previous policy of the back to school launch has come following concerns from parents and educators that the full story of the impact of COVID on education was not been properly delivered.

All of themes introduced in the information session today came back to the same point of note, that the frequently noted refrain that with vaccination comes a reduction in the risk of being affected by COVID.

As we have seen for many, many month now. This pandemic continues to evolve and so do we, we need to make changes to address the situation as it arising. What remains steadfast, is the need for all of us to do our part. To do our part, to protect ourselves, our families, but also our communities. And now we're seeing in some parts of the province, in the Interior, the North, in the Fraser East in particular our communities are being affected to. This means we all need to get vaccinated, to stay home, to stay away from others if we're not feeling well ourselves.  To continue to take those basic measures, wearing a mask when we're in indoor public settings, cleaning out hands regularly. These are things that will be important for all of us to get through this next respiratory season.-- Doctor Bonnie Henry

The ongoing challenges to Health services particularly in the Prince George and Northeastern communities also made for a key element of the narrative of the day, with both Doctor Henry and Minister Dix noting how the growing hospitalization comes mainly from those who have not as of yet been vaccinated.

And with their arrival in hospitals across the Health Authority, other patients are being relocated to other jurisdictions and regular surgeries are being impacted at hospitals around the Northern portion of the province.

As he paid tribute to the Health Care workers across the region, the Minister provided data on the situation that facilities are facing.

To date Mr. Dix noted that 25 patients have been transferred out of the Northern Region as part of the provincial response to the challenges of the last two weeks.

Such is the pace of the spread of COVID that Northern Health is now the area with the second largest volume of new cases, second only to Fraser Health which has a significantly higher population base.

Something which puts Northern Health in a challenging position on a per capita basis.

Towards the attention on the Northern Health Authority, Minister Dix, Doctor Henry, Interim- Opposition Leader Shirley Bond and Northern Health officials will be taking phone calls tonight as part of a special information Virtual Town Hall session for the North from 6 to 7:30PM, with the assembled panel to take questions and share notes on how the COVID response is taking place. 

The live audio link to the event which starts at 6PM can be accessed here.

More notes on the COVID response in British Columbia can be reviewed here.

Items of Interest from Northern Health are available here.

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