For a moment earlier this year it looked like the Skeena was beating COVID for good. Prince Rupert hit zero cases after having some of the highest infections in the province. The vaccine rate in Kitimat passed 80 percent.
But if there’s one we’ve learned during this pandemic it’s that we can’t take any progress against COVID for granted.
New data from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control show why. Over the past week or so there were three new cases in Terrace, two each in Prince Rupert and Smithers, another case in the Upper Skeena and one in Haida Gwaii.
That doesn’t mean people in the Skeena should start panicking. The number of cases is still low, especially compared to this winter. But it’s a sign that we have to stay vigilant in our fight against the coronavirus.
Health experts say one thing people can do is make sure they get their second vaccine shot.
“Terrace’s second dose vaccination rate for people over 12-years-old sits at 63 per cent,” the Terrace Standard reports. “According to the BCCDC, as of August 12, Terrace’s two-dose vaccination rate is relatively low compared to other [health areas] in the northwest.”
The rate in Prince Rupert is only slightly higher at 68 percent. In Smithers it’s only 56 percent.
Vaccines are not a guarantee against getting sick. Northern Health says about 6 percent of new cases in July occurred among fully vaccinated people.
But getting completely vaccinated drastically reduces the odds that COVID will make you seriously ill, and also makes it much harder for the vaccine to again gain a foothold in the Skeena.
We’ve made huge gains over the past few months, however the fight is not over yet.