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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – Compared to the rest of the province, the North Peace had the highest positivity testing rate last week and has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates.

The data comes from leaked internal reports from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, released by the Vancouver Sun on Thursday.

A map of COVID-19 testing positivity by local health area shows Peace River North, including Fort St. John, had over a 20 per cent rate between April 23rd to April 29th, which was the highest in the province.

It shows the region has remained steady while Peace River South has decreased by at least three per cent from the previous week.

Another map displaying vaccine coverage in the province shows rates are lower than 20 per cent in the North Peace as of April 29th. The lowest in the province.

Peace River South, including Dawson Creek, and Fort Nelson rates are between 21 to 40 per cent.

In a provincial announcement Thursday, four communities in the Northern Health region were identified as high-transmission zones. Joining Dawson Creek are Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, and Fort St. James.

Earlier this week, the health authority accelerated its vaccine program to those 40 years and older in Fort St. John. After joining the high-transmission list, on May 7th, Northern Health started accepting vaccine bookings for Fort St. John residents 18 years and older.

According to a 2016 Statistics Canada census, 33 is the average age of Fort St. John residents.

The vaccine clinic in FSJ is located at Totem Mall in the old Marks Work Warehouse. The clinic runs from May 11th to 14th and May 18th to 21st.

While addressing rumours of neglect at the FSJ Hospital, Angela De Smit, Northeast Chief Operating Officer, stated the city has the highest COVID-19 case numbers in the north.

“Nurses and hospital staff are run off their feet most days, and we are not always able to find more staff to help them care for you and your loved ones the way we all want. This is hard for everyone, nurses included,” says De Smit in a statement Friday.

According to the BCCDC, as of May 6th, 100,210 vaccine doses have been administered in the Northern Health area.

For the week of April 25th to May 1st, Peace River North added 61 new cases, and Peace River South recorded 40 new cases.



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