New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Flood-affected areas are also subjected to regional COVID-19 limitations

Key takeaways:

  • As the frequency of emergencies in B.C. has increased, COVID-19 is still a big issue, according to health officials.
  • Because of the high rates of virus transmission in specific locations, regional COVID-19 limits have been imposed.

As the number of emergencies in B.C. grows, health officials are warning evacuees and assistance workers that COVID-19 is still a major issue, particularly in flood-affected areas, and that steps must be taken to prevent transmission.

Rising floodwaters triggered by a powerful atmospheric river forced residents in the Fraser Valley and B.C.’s Interior to flee their homes earlier this week. COVID- Many individuals put their family, cattle, and homes first; thus, 19 safety measures were not on their minds.

Because of the high rates of virus transmission in specific locations, regional COVID-19 limits have been imposed.

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For those who are not fully vaccinated, Fraser Health East, which includes Abbotsford, Aggasiz, Hope, Boston Bar, Chilliwack, Mission, and Harrison Hot Springs, has restrictions in place, including restrictions on indoor personal meetings, which are restricted to one household plus five visitors or one other household, and private gatherings outside at private residences, which are limited to your residence plus up to ten visitors, all of whom must remain outside.

Interior Health limits indoor personal gatherings to five other persons or one other home and outdoor personal gatherings to 50 people.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix says he was concerned about COVID-19 transmission in those areas before the flooding and evacuations, and he still is.

He adds his staff has been in touch with Emergency Management B.C. (EMBC), the organization in charge of coordinating the province’s response to emergencies and disasters, to ensure COVID-19 safety protocols have been followed.

Reception centres, according to EMBC, provide remote and virtual services to reduce physical touch between people. 

However, when virtual services aren’t enough, it is recommended that evacuees and volunteers maintain physical distance, use hand sanitizer, don’t share pens or paper, and keep workstations clean regularly.

According to Caroline Colijn, Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Evolution, Infection, and Public Health, the impact of flooding on COVID-19 cases is unknown. 

However, she believes that if many unvaccinated persons are collected indoors due to evacuations, the risk will be amplified.

Flood-affected areas are also subjected to regional COVID-19 limitations.

Her modelling for health regions revealed a plateau, and in some communities, a steady reduction in instances, especially in locations with high vaccination rates, before the flooding.

Around 91 per cent of persons in the Fraser Health region, according to Dix, have got at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, that number is smaller in Eastern Fraser Health communities, he said.

He also stated that approximately 86 per cent of persons in Interior Health have received at least one immunization dose.

If evacuees haven’t previously been vaccinated, Dix advises them to do so.

“Of course, there are vaccines and clinics all around British Columbia… and we have trial programmes with pharmacies,” he said.

“We are constantly everywhere.”

Anyone who has been relocated, he said, can get vaccines in whichever location they are currently in by contacting 1-833-838-2323 or registering online through the Get Vaccinated site.

“There have been some interruptions this week, which is natural given things like power outages and the like, but we’re still delivering immunizations everywhere.”

Source: CBC Global

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