University Hospital of Northern BC in Prince George. (UBC photo)

University Hospital of Northern BC in Prince George. (UBC photo)

Prince George’s University Hospital of Northern BC restricts visitors

The hospital is grappling with fourth COVID-19 wave

Only essential visitors will be allowed in Prince George’s University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC).

Northern Health (NH) announced Thursday, Oct. 7 full COVID-19 safety measures would be put in place immediately throughout the facility due to two inpatient units suffering from COVID-19 outbreaks, and general rates of the virus’ activity.

Essential visits include those for compassionate care and visitors accompanying patients with physical or mental well-being needs.

Vaccination rates in NH are the lowest in B.C., with 68 per cent of the population age 12 and older fully immunized with two doses as of Oct. 5.

Read More: Northeastern B.C. MLA says ‘Alberta influence’ an issue in vaccination efforts

Community health service areas with fewer than 60 per cent of the eligible population having received both shots include Burns Lake South, Vanderhoof, Vanderhoof Rural, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Fort St John, Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge.

Just 45 per cent have received their second dose in the Northern Boreal and Peace River South Rural, and 40 per cent in Peace River North Rural.

A COVID-19 outbreak was declared at the hospital’s primary care medical unit after nine patients and one staff member tested positive Sept. 25. An unrelated outbreak was declared at the hospital’s internal medicine unit Oct. 4, with seven patients testing positive for the virus.

Additional safety measures such as access controls and facility entrance screening, physical distancing and occupancy limits and masking protocols are also being put in place facility-wide.

“UHNBC patients and visitors should watch for information and directional signage posted within the facility,” NH said.

“Public health officials will be monitoring the situation carefully over coming weeks, with respect to both current UHNBC outbreaks and the duration of expanded COVID-19 measures, facility-wide.”

Read More: Letter: Vanderhoof ER may be closed in the upcoming days

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