British Columbia

Northwestern B.C. sees spike in COVID-19 cases

The health region that includes B.C.'s North Coast and Haida Gwaii has recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases, with 11 people testing positive for the virus over the past week.

11 positive cases recorded in region, which includes Haida Gwaii, over past week

The Haida Gwaii Hospital, or X̱aayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay in the Haida language.. (Contributed/Northern Health )

The health region that includes B.C.'s North Coast and Haida Gwaii has recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past week, new data reveals.

On Thursday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control released its two-week snapshot mapping the spread of the virus, indicating 11 new cases in the Northwest Health Service Delivery Area. The region had zero cases one week ago.

Also on Thursday, British Columbia's Northern Health Authority, which covers the top two-thirds of the province, recorded its largest single-day increase in active COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started.

Eight new cases were reported. Previously, the biggest jump occurred on April 18, when five new cases were reported over 24 hours. 

No public exposure events in region: Northern Health

Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said it is important for people in northern B.C. to know that there have not been any public exposure events in the region, which would require an alert to be issued to the general public.

"Contact tracing is underway for all confirmed and active cases, and all of the individuals who have recently tested positive are self-isolating," she said.

(B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

Collins also said none of the cases in northern B.C. are linked to travel to Kelowna, where more than 70 people have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending events in the city between late June and early July.

However, Collins said some of the cases were connected to travel, while others were the result of being exposed to known cases. She also said several people in the region were self-isolating after visiting Kelowna.

State of local emergency on Haida Gwaii

While the exact location of cases is not disclosed, the Council of the Haida Nation says at least one person on the archipelago tested positive for the virus last week.

The council, along with other North Coast First Nations, has declared a state of emergency and urged visitors to stay away from the region out of fear local health-care services could be overwhelmed by hospitalizations.

Currently, there are no COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the Northern Health region, and the province has said it is prepared to reallocate resources as necessary.

Single case at Site C work camp

There has also been one case reported at the Site C work site in Fort St. John but, because the worker was first tested in Alberta, it is recorded as an out-of-province case and is not part of the running total for Northern Health.

BC Hydro said that as of Thursday, 10 other workers are in isolation at the camp.

Collins confirmed that no other positive cases of COVID-19 at Site C have been recorded.

One other case has been reported in the northeast. There are currently no positive cases being reported in the northern Interior, which includes Prince George.


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About the Author

Andrew Kurjata

CBC Prince George | @akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is an award-winning journalist covering Northern British Columbia for CBC Radio and cbc.ca, situated in unceded Lheidli T'enneh territory in Prince George. You can email him at andrew.kurjata@cbc.ca.

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