By Andru McCracken

COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on our lives and the economy, although the virus has had a limited impact in Northern BC. On Monday there were just 7 laboratory-confirmed active cases in the Northern Health region with three people in the hospital and one in intensive care. MLA Shirley Bond said the BC Liberals have been asking whether the North should be treated like Vancouver and other dense areas in the Lower Mainland. The answer from the Provincial Health Officer has been a steadfast yes.

“If there were to be an outbreak in a more remote or rural area it would be very difficult to manage,” said Bond.

“Dr. Henry’s advice is we need to treat the province as a whole and be strict and stringent.”

Bond said she’s not an expert on public health or an epidemiologist, but she and the Liberal Party look to the Provincial Health Officer for direction.

“I want to assure you we have asked the question. When you look at the statistics and numbers and how large our geography is, the reason we have been given, is that we need to make sure we are protecting small and rural communities,” she said.

Bond said it’s one of the reasons Premier John Horgan has asked people not to travel to or from Alberta, because COVID-19 could overwhelm the health care resources in small rural communities.

“Part of the challenge is people can be asymptomatic. So you don’t know if it is in your community,” she said.