By Laura Keil
Northern Health’s (NH) new public health orders covering the entire Northern Health region to manage COVID-19 activity start tomorrow, 12:01 a.m. Tues. Sept. 7th.
The new rules limit the size of personal gatherings in homes to one family or five guests and outdoor gatherings at homes to 50 people. Organized events (all indoor events, sporting events, as well as any outdoor event with more than 200 people) must have a safety plan.
Northern Health says the measures will remain in place until Northern Health experiences lower cases and higher vaccination rates. As of Mon. Sept. 9th, Northern Health had 595 active cases, 89 new cases that day, with 20 people in hospital and 12 in the ICU.
“We are seeing a surge of cases throughout the Northern Health region,” said Northern Health president and CEO Cathy Ulrich. “We continue to strongly encourage all people age 12 and up to get immunized, which is their best source of protection.”
Northern Health says most people are being exposed at personal social gatherings in households and at private gatherings. The health region says the Delta variant is leading to faster transmission and more severe outcomes for younger people and the data shows immunization remains the most effective prevention.
“Getting immunized will help keep our hospitals open for treating people with other illnesses,” said Northern Health chief medical health officer Dr. Jong Kim. “These orders are a temporary way to help manage the spread of the virus and the impact on the health system.”
The orders include the following:
· Personal gatherings in your home limited to one additional family or five guests
· Personal gatherings outside your home limited to 50 people
· Indoor events must have a safety plan (the organizer should have a safety plan, but is not required to submit one for approval)
· Outside events of more than 200 people must have a safety plan
· Sporting events with spectators, indoor & outdoor must have a safety plan
People must also abide by rules set out in Step 3 of BC’s restart plan which are also still in place including:
· Indoor events – maximum of 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater
· Outside events – maximum of 5000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater
· Outdoor spectator events: 5000 people or 50% capacity
· Indoor spectator event: 50 people or 50% capacity
· All indoor fitness classes, gyms, rec facilities, restaurants, bars, pubs are allowed normal capacity. The same goes for worship services and educational activities (K to 12 and post-secondary)
How to get vaccinated
People can get their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by dropping in to any NH immunization clinic or by making an appointment at: www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca/ or by calling 1‑833‑838‑2323.
Upcoming drop-in clinics (no appointment necessary):
FRI. SEPT 10 Drop-in COVID clinics IDA Parking Lot, 1214 5 Avenue, Valemount. 9am-12pm. Mobile Vax Van. 12+ drop-in-clinic.
FRI. SEPT 10 Drop-in COVID clinics Bike Park, Hillside Rd, Valemount. TBD. Mobile Vax Van. 12+ drop-in-clinic.
FRI. SEPT 10 Drop-in COVID clinics McBride Public Library, 521 Main Street. 3pm – 7pm. Mobile Vax Van. 12+ drop-in-clinic.