There’s been a lot of media reporting about the strict new COVID restrictions that will be in place across much of B.C.’s north for the next month.
But amidst spiralling infection rates that have overwhelmed northern hospitals, there’s a positive news story that’s been getting far less attention.
A good chunk of the Skeena is so highly vaccinated that it’s exempt from the restrictions.
While Smithers struggles with burned-out doctors and high cases, much of the area west of it is keeping transmission under control. That includes Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Stikine, Telegraph Creek, Snow Country and Nisga’a.
These areas “are exempt from the circuit-breaker restrictions due to their high vaccination and low transmission rates,” as The Tyee reports.
The new COVID rules are some of the strictest of the entire pandemic.
Unvaccinated people aren’t allowed to socialize outside of their household, the province announced last week. Bars are closed. Indoor gatherings can’t exceed five people. “All indoor and outdoor organized events require a safety plan and for attendees to wear a mask and present their BC Vaccine Card showing they are fully vaccinated,” the province says.
“The situation in the north…is an enormous challenge not just for the North but for all of British Columbia,” Health Minister Adrian Dix told media last week.
But some communities, especially in the Skeena, are doing better than others at controlling the coronavirus. However, this is not the time to get complacent.
Even though case counts are not as extreme as cities like Prince George, they are still going up in Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Terrace.