Vulnerable evacuees will stay in P.G. until Williams Lake ready for them

Although the evacuation order for Williams Lake residents was lifted Thursday, Northern Health is waiting for Interior Health to be prepared to receive those in need of extra supports before considering moving vulnerable evacuees out of Prince George.

"We are expecting that the number of evacuees in general in Prince George will diminish in the coming days and so we're essentially assessing needs on a daily basis and then we'll be adjusting services accordingly," Eryn Collins, communications officer for Northern Health, said.

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"That will be done, of course, in consultation with all the other partners involved in providing services to the evacuees. That said, we are still maintaining a clinic presently at the Northern Sport Centre while there are still evacuees lodged there."

Northern Health is working with Interior Health, the health authority in which Williams Lake is included, to support the return of some evacuees who need more support than the general population like those requiring home support or mental health and substance use support.

"Because they'll return at the appropriate time when those services are reestablished in Williams Lake," Collins said.

"That is separate from those people who we continue to care for who need acute services, long term care services, or assisted living levels of care and we expect to continue their care until it's safe for those patients and residents to return home. So we're working closely with Interior Health around the appropriate timing for return of those people to their home community when those supports are once again established in Williams Lake."

For those evacuees who don't feel they can return home due to health and safety issues, there are still emergency social services in place and if an extension of services is required, evacuees can check in at the CNC emergency reception centre and for more information about referral forms call 1-800-585-9559.

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