FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Health is urging residents in the northeast to get immunized and take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, for their own safety and to reduce pressure on the healthcare system.

The Fort St. John and Dawson Creek hospitals, in particular, continue to experience high COVID-19 activity and hospitalizations, says a release.

Both facilities are experiencing an increase in confirmed and suspected cases, and the urgent care needs are resulting in longer wait times.

The health authority recommends three actions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect health services: get vaccinated, adhere to public health orders and self-monitor or seek testing for symptoms.

In order to further reduce strain on emergency care and acute care, those with less urgent needs are asked to visit their primary care provider or family physician’s office during business hours. Residents can also contact the Northern Health Virtual Primary & Community Care Clinic.

Those who require emergency health attention can call 9-1-1 or visit their local emergency room. Northern Health emergency rooms tend to sudden or unusual changes in health, including but not limited to breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or pain, chest pain, broken bones and eye injuries.

Patients who aren’t sure whether their case requires an emergency room visit, or who are looking for health advice can contact HealthLink BC (8-1-1) or visit the HealthLink website.