Six more COVID deaths in Northern Health

The COVID-19 pandemic claimed another six lives in the Northern Health region over the weekend, numbers issued Monday by the B.C. Centre Disease Control are showing.

The deaths raised the running total since the pandemic broke out to 61 for the region and were among 26 across the province, raising the ongoing total on that front to 1,154.

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Details on the death were not immediately available.

Active cases in Northern Health stood at 512 on Monday, down 22 from the start of the weekend.

There were 47 COVID patients in hospital, down by one, with 16 of them in intensive care, down two.

For B.C. as a whole, active cases totalled 4,392 on Monday, down by 87 from Friday.

In a joint statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix raised concern over the number of new cases.

"In the last couple of weeks, we have plateaued at about 500 new cases of COVID-19 a day. And, while the number of long-term care outbreaks has slowed, we continue to see new outbreaks in hospitals and in the community.

"This may seem stable to some, but it is a precarious situation for all of us. This shows us that while we are slowing the spread in long-term care, the risks remain high because the virus continues to circulate in our communities.

"We are at the threshold of where we were in November when cases started rapidly escalating, and we need to put a stop to this before more people become severely ill and our health-care system faces even more strain.

"Getting to the brighter days, easing the public health restrictions in our province relies on what we do now. That is why we need your help.

"We need everyone to remember that COVID-19 is still the unwelcome guest in our homes, at work and in our communities, and to take a step back; to stay home and stay away from others, and perhaps do more than what you have done before to slow the spread.

"Fewer cases is where we want to go in B.C., and we need your help to get there. Our goal for the next two weeks is to push the number of new cases in our province down as low as we can go.

"Let's unite in this common goal. We have the tools and the resources to do just that, so let's show each other that we can make this happen."

Meanwhile, Northern Health declared over the outbreak at the rehabilitation unit at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. as no new cases were reported since January 9.

Northern Health said it is continuing to monitor outbreaks at the internal medicine unit at UHNBC and at Jubiliee Lodge. Eight deaths have been associated with the outbreak at the unit and 14 at Jubilee, although no new cases have been declared at the long-term care home since January 13.

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