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There were 43 COVID-19 cases recorded in Prince George’s local health area for October

Region more than doubles its September number with virus infections still rising
covid 19 test lab getty images
Positive COVID-19 test. (via Getty Images)

There's more proof that COVID-19 remains present in northern B.C., especially in Prince George.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), Prince George’s local health area, which reaches north of Mackenzie and as far southeast as Valemount, recorded 43 infections in the month of October, increasing the year-to-date total to 99.

This was the largest spike in all of Northern Health from September to October, which saw a combined 129 new COVID-19 cases last month.

This is also an exponential increase for the local health area after recording 20 in September and just three from August, with likely factors that include the return to school, travel in and out of the region, public exposure alerts and some events that gathered 50 people and potentially more.

Peace River South saw the second biggest spike in the north with 40 cases.

The region includes Dawson Creek, which currently hosts the only COVID-19 facility outbreak at the Rotary Manor and has had three schools in the last two months with a potential exposure event.

In September, Peace River North recorded the north’s virus spike with 38 cases, but decreased by nearly 75 per cent to just 12 from October.

Smithers was the other double-digit increase in Northern Health with 23.

The virus claimed a fourth life in the region as well, as announced by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

PrinceGeorgeMatters has reached out to Northern Health for details, but have yet to respond as of this publication (Nov. 16).

The other three people who lost their lives from COVID-19 have all been women; a Nak'azdli Whut’en elder in her 70s, another woman in her 70s and one in her 60s.

COVID-19 local health area map - Nov. 12, 2020The BC Centre for Disease Control's Local Health area map between January 2020 and October 2020. (via BCCDC)

As of this publication, 504 positive tests have been counted for COVID-19 in Northern Health, which includes 62 active cases, six in critical care, four in hospital and 438 recoveries.

Only 10.6 per cent of the authority’s population, as per its 2019-20 report, has undergone a test for COVID-19.

B.C., as a whole, has been breaking single-day records consecutively, with the latest now at 617 from Friday (Nov. 13) for a grand total of 20,985 since January.

Twelve northern B.C. schools have been flagged for possible COVID-19 exposure, including three in Prince George:

  • Hudson's Hope Elementary-Junior Secondary - Oct. 26-Nov. 4, 2020
  • Ron Brent Elementary School - Oct. 30, 2020
  • Roosevelt Park Elementary School (SD52) - Oct. 21-22, 2020
  • Immaculate Conception School (Independent, Diocese of Prince George) - Oct. 21-23, 2020
  • Fort Nelson Secondary School (SD81) - Oct. 15-16, 2020
  • Notre Dame School (Private) - Oct. 13-14, 2020
  • Prince George Secondary School (SD57) - Oct. 2, 2020
  • Dawson Creek Secondary School - South Peace Campus (SD59) - Sept. 23-25, 2020
  • David Hoy Elementary School (SD91) - Sept. 17-18, 2020
  • Quesnel Junior Secondary School (SD28) - Sept. 10-11, 15-18, 2020
  • Nak’albun Elementary School (Independent) - Sept. 16-18, 2020
  • Ecole Frank Ross Elementary School (SD59) - Sept. 10-11, 2020

Should a student or teacher receive a positive COVID-19 test in any case, Northern Heath's school notification process is as follows:

  • Contact tracing is initiated to determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with
  • We identify and notify close contacts who may be at an increased risk, and advise them to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days
  • Only Public Health can determine who is a close contact
    • Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be determined to be a close contact
  • Public Health staff works closely with the school and school district throughout the case and contact management process to maintain close communication with the school community

Dr. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are scheduled to provide B.C. with a virus update this afternoon at 3 p.m.

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