Terrace area continues to have a high rate of COVID-19 infections

·3 min read

There were 61 new COVID-19 cases in the Terrace area between Jan. 24 and Jan. 30, according to the latest data published by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). That’s two more cases than the week before.

The Terrace area, which includes Kitselas, Thornhill, and Kitsumkalum, continues to have one of the highest average daily rates per 100,000 people out of any jurisdiction in B.C.

The Nass Valley also has a high rate per 100,000 people, with 12 new cases between Jan. 24 and Jan. 30. Those BCCDC figures for the Nass Valley may not match numbers self-reported by the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority (NVHA), due to differences in how the two organizations track cases.

Terrace’s Scotiabank temporarily closed its in-person teller services from Jan. 30 to Feb. 8 as a COVID-19 precaution.

“It’s not by order of the health authority it’s just we are taking some extra precaution,” said Steve Bakkar, branch manager.

“There’s a potential COVID-19 exposure so then we’ve taken those precautionary [measures] to close those teller services for a period of time.”

Bakkar said that he could not talk about specifics like when the potential exposure occurred or whether any staff have tested positive for COVID-19 due to confidentiality.

There were two more exposure notices posted for Terrace schools recently.

Separate exposures at Centennial Christian School occurred Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, and Jan. 26 to Jan. 27, according to Northern Health’s list of public exposures and outbreaks. There have been four exposure notices issued for Centennial Christian School since the start of the year, the most of any school in Terrace.

Uplands Elementary School and Parkside Secondary School have each had two exposure notices since students returned to class after winter break, and Skeena Middle School and Caledonia Secondary School have each had one.

There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice.

On Feb. 4, education and health officials announced that masks will be mandatory in middle schools and high schools except for three scenarios: when students are at their own desk or workstation, when they are eating or drinking and when there is a plexiglass barrier between them.

Masks will remain a “personal choice” for elementary school students.

The province also announced $900,000 for six regional rapid response teams, one for each health authority and one for independent schools. The teams will be made up of school representatives from schools and provincial staff. The province said they will help speed up school exposure investigations to inform school districts and families more quickly. The teams will conduct physical or virtual site inspections to ensure K-12 COVID health and safety guidelines are being followed consistently.

There have been no exposure notices for local flights since a case was identified on a flight from Terrace to Vancouver on Jan. 22. Rows 8 - 14 of Air Canada flight number 8245, according to the BCCDC’s list of flight exposures.

With files from Jake Wray and Katya Slepian

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News