COVID-19: Peace River South only health area in B.C. with fully vaccinated rate less than 50 per cent

There were 661 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past day and seven deaths — bringing that toll to 1,873

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Peace River South in B.C.’s north is the only local health area in the province with a fully vaccinated rate of less than 50 per cent, latest Centre for Disease Control statistics reveal.


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This area comprises the towns of Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge (total population around 20,000) and rural areas in-between and falls within Northern Health — the smallest health authority in the province, responsible for 287,000 people. The area had a vaccination rate of 49 per cent as of Sept. 14.

Figures also show that Northern Health’s top vaccination rate performer — Kitimat at 80 per cent — is still the lowest of all the top-performing areas within B.C.’s other four health regions.

Peace River North — centred around Fort St. John with a growing population of 21,000 — has a fully vaccinated rate of 50 per cent, while Fort Nelson in the far north has a double-dose rate of 51 per cent.

Dr. Jong Kim, Northern Health’s chief medical officer, said the hospitals at Fort St. John, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek were under pressure as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise in the region.


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“Right now across northern B.C. we are seeing rising numbers of cases and a rising number of hospitalizations,” he said, adding that this could lead to cancellations of non-urgent surgeries.

There are 849 active cases of the disease in Northern Health and 62 new cases reported Wednesday — just 37 fewer than the much larger Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Kim said there had been first doses of vaccine administered in the Peace River South and Peace River North local health areas over the last few days and “slow-and-steady progress” was being made. He said this was aided by mobile vaccination clinics and outreach from community leaders. He said accessibility was the key reason for the low vaccination rate.

Interior Health has the second worst vaccination rates overall, with Enderby at the lowest end with 59 per cent and Revelstoke the highest with 79 per cent.


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Vancouver Island Health’s top-performing local health area is the Saanich Peninsula at 88 per cent, comprising Saanich, Saanichton, North Saanich, Sidney and Brentwood Bay. The poorest performer in that region is Cowichan Valley West at 69 per cent.

Hope is the worst performer in Fraser Health at 65 per cent, with Delta being the best at 85 per cent.

Best-and-worst vaccination figures for Vancouver Coastal Health are harder to comprehend. COVID immunization data is broken down by health service delivery area, then local health areas within those delivery areas.

Vancouver Coastal Health (responsible for 1.22 million people) has three health service delivery areas — North Shore/Coast Garibaldi, Richmond and Vancouver.


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There are seven local health areas within North Shore/Coast Garibaldi (Bella Coola Valley, Central Coast, Howe Sound, North Vancouver, Powell River, Sunshine Coast and West Vancouver-Bowen Island) representing 27 communities within them. Vancouver and Richmond health-service delivery areas are the same as the local health areas.

The area with the best rate in Vancouver Coastal is the Central Coast at 90 per cent (the highest in the province), which comprises the tiny community of Waglisla adjacent to Bella Bella.

However, the area with the worst rate at 64 per cent is the Bella Coola Valley that comprises Bella Bella, Bella Coola and Hagensborg.

On Wednesday, the B.C. Ministry of Health reported 6,729 first doses of COVID vaccine administered across B.C., plus 6,312 second doses. So far, more than 70 per cent of all British Columbians have been fully vaccinated.


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There are 863,000 people in B.C. aged 12-and-over and eligible for vaccine that haven’t received a first dose.

While 31.6 per cent of new cases reported during the week of Sept. 7-13 were in people who had received vaccine (including 23.5 per cent who were fully vaccinated), 68.4 per cent were in people unvaccinated.

During the last two weeks 81.7 per cent of people admitted to hospital with COVID were unvaccinated.

There were 661 new cases of COVID reported over the past day and seven deaths — bringing that toll to 1,873.

The number of active cases has fallen 374 to 5,791, while the number of people in hospital with COVID is steady at 288. There are three fewer people in intensive care, with that number at 137.

There were no new health-care facility outbreaks.



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