While I am not a public health official, having focused my experience and training as a social worker on supporting northern and remote communities, I have concerns for our northern communities given the public conversation not often accounting for the vastly differing demographics of northern B.C..
I hope that BC remembers:
1) To frame confirmed case numbers per capita. While the northern health region is the size of France, it has the population of Iceland, or a mid-sized city.
2) Most communities have more limited health care services than I previously imagined, and continue to rely on Prince George as a hub for access to essential services, such as cancer treatments. The virus can then travel back with them to their communities. I previously lived in Burns Lake and had to travel back to Prince George for even an ultrasound. Many communities rely on other communities for access to groceries and essential goods, as well.
3) Staff retention and health care as well as transportation infrastructure are already challenged. This must be concerning for testing and treatment for most northern communities.
4) Many northern First Nations are remote, and in addition to the above vulnerabilities, are additionally made disproportionately more vulnerable to the virus by pre-existing inequities.