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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northeast BC recorded 238 COVID-19 cases between February 6th to 12th, according to recent BC Centre for Disease Control data.

There were 128 cases reported in the North Peace, 90 in the South Peace, and 20 in Fort Nelson.

This data doesn’t accurately reflect all cases in the region, as the province changed their testing procedures last month. Testing now focuses on two major groups  – those who are immunocompromised and those in higher-risk settings, such as healthcare workers.

The province is expected to make rapid tests available to the general public soon after health minister Adrian Dix announced students will be given take-home kits in the coming weeks.

“We will begin with seniors, carrying on our focus on higher-risk individuals, but we’ll expand to the broader population as the inventory continues to arrive,” Dix said during Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing.

Dix said over 2.8 million tests are en route to the province, with 10 million in total expected in the coming weeks.

“Assuming the in-transit delivery of 2.87 million tests arrives later this week, we also anticipate starting distribution at no cost to citizens, to the broader community.”

In the Northern Health region, there are 45 people in hospital; 14 of them are in critical care.

The health authority reported two new deaths Wednesday, bringing the total deaths in the region to 297.

The number of Fort St. John residents who are fully vaccinated is 17,523, or 78 per cent, with 6,529 people, or 29.1 per cent, having received their booster dose.

In Dawson Creek, 70.8 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated, with 30.4 per cent having received their third dose.

Over half of rural residents in the North Peace are fully vaccinated at 55.5 per cent, with 21.1 per cent also getting the third jab.

In the rural areas of the South Peace, 59.7 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated, with 24.6 per cent receiving the booster.

Health officials announced the easing of restrictions on Tuesday, which came into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

Capacity limits were removed from all gatherings, indoor seated events, recreation facilities, bars and restaurants. However, indoor mask use, proof of vaccination and safety plans are still in effect for now.

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