The Northern Health region now has 12 cases of COVID-19, as pf presstime March 30. The numbers rose from five to 12 over the past week. In order to gain an edge on the situation, Northern Health has launched a new online resource and health hotline, and tightened regulations on visits at NH facilities.
“While I cannot break down the testing numbers to a community level, I can share that during the week of March 13 to 21 alone, just over 400 COVID test swabs sent to provincial labs were samples from northern BC residents, across the health authority region – including communities in the Northern Interior Health Service Delivery Area,” wrote NH spokesperson, Eryn Collins, in an email to Lakes District News.
According to Collins, there are testing locations operational in communities all across the Northern Health region, but it’s important for people to know to use the online assessment tool developed by the province first, before seeking out in-person care, unless of course it’s an emergency situation, where the symptoms are causing severe impairments.
Once the assessment is completed, if there is a need for an in-person appointment, a Patient Care Coordinator will contact the person who took the test. And they’ll give instructions on just how to enter the testing facility they’re going to safely, said Collins.
Lack of tests available is also not a concern at this point, and there should be enough tests available for everyone that will actually need it, she added.
The online tool is available at https://bc.thrive.health/. Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath are the main symptoms. The new Northern Health hotline number is 1-844-645-7811.
As for the recent changes to visitation rules, they are simply that visits are no longer allowed altogether, unless they are deemed “essential.”
In a bulletin published online March 23, NH states that these essential visits will only be accepted in the cases of patients who are critically ill, receiving end-of-life care, or frail and in need of an escort or family member for safety reasons. All visitors will be screened, and will be denied if they show symptoms of the disease, or have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.
Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, released a joint statement March 28 with updated COVID-19 case numbers in the whole province. There were 92 new cases of COVID-19 that day, and one death.
“We have taken a step in the right direction, but we know that in the coming weeks, the number of cases is going to continue to rise and our health system will be put to test,” write Dix and Henry.
“As a province, all of us must do everything we can to avoid the devastating impacts that we have seen in other parts of the world,” they said.