Community with highest COVID-19 case rate in B.C. declares outbreak at its hospital

·2 min read
Two patients in the medical inpatient unit at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. (Northern Health Authority - image credit)
Two patients in the medical inpatient unit at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. (Northern Health Authority - image credit)

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Dawson Creek and District Hospital in the medical inpatient unit, after two patients tested positive for the virus.

The health authority said it is monitoring the situation and testing to identify other cases.

This news comes after Dawson Creek was identified as the number one COVID-19 hot spot during a news conference with B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Premier John Horgan on Monday.

Dawson Creek saw the highest number of confirmed cases per capita over the past week, at a rate of 552 out of 100,000 people.

Dr. Jong Kim, chief medical health officer with Northern Health, said it's unclear why Dawson Creek is seeing such high rates of positive cases.

"It is a significant concern," he told Daybreak North host Carolina De Ryk. "We are doing enhanced contact tracing in the South Peace area."

Thirteen communities across the province, including Dawson Creek, are being prioritized to administer the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine through local pharmacies to residents over 40.

"The goal is in the next few weeks is that we vaccinate everyone over 40 in the Dawson Creek area as soon as possible," Kim said.

He encourages residents to call local pharmacies as soon as possible to find out if they are offering the vaccine and to book an appointment.

MLA urges residents to get vaccinated

Mike Bernier, the MLA for Peace River South, is urging residents to get vaccinated.

"We need to all buckle down and do our part," he said. "It's scary when you see those kinds of numbers in a small community."

Bernier said he's heard from health-care workers at the local hospital who say they're exhausted, both mentally and physically.

He noted large anti-mask rallies have taken place in the community, and many people are unsure or strongly against getting vaccinated.

"At the end of the day, we still need to look out for our friends, our neighbours, our loved ones. If you want to come after me in two years and say 'I told you so,' go ahead. But let's get through this first. We need to work together. "

"I encourage everyone, do your proper research if you're concerned, but most importantly, I think it's important everybody considers getting vaccinated."

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