Ulkatcho First Nation elder Mary William receives the first COVID-19 vaccine in Anahim Lake. (Jamie E Tanis photo)

Ulkatcho First Nation elder Mary William receives the first COVID-19 vaccine in Anahim Lake. (Jamie E Tanis photo)

YEAR IN REVIEW: January 2021

Rapid response paramedics deployed to lakecity

January 7, 2021

COVID-19 vaccination provides relief

Ulkatcho First Nation elder Mary William broke into a grin after being the first person in the isolated community west of Williams Lake to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last week.

Anahim Lake is one of 10 rural and remote Indigenous communities across B.C. the Moderna vaccine had rolled out the week of Dec. 28.

The vaccine provided by First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) landed at Anahim Lake Airport at around 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 29.

Frontline health care workers also received the first dose on Dec. 30, 2020 and public health was administering the vaccine to long-term care staff in Williams Lake.

A COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Seniors Village after Interior Health confirmed a positive case of a resident on Dec. 31.

January 7, 2021

Community digs deep to help the needy

The new captains at Williams Lake Salvation Army said they were overwhelmed by community support this Christmas with more than $173,000 donated to assist those in need.

“We received $69,192 from our kettle campaign and $104,715 through donations directly to our office and online,” said captain Sergii Kachanov. “My wife Tatiana and I are blessed to be here and to experience how extremely generous people are.”

January 7, 2021

Property values average seven per cent increase in Williams Lake

Property assessments averages have increased in Williams Lake by seven per cent.

In 2020 the typical assessed value in the lakecity as of July 1 was $266,000 compared to $249,000 in 2019, noted BC Assessment in a news release Monday, Jan. 4.

January 14, 2021

Williams Lake physician part of COSMIC Medical group developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19

A Williams Lake physician is collaborating with a Vancouver-based non-profit organization to develop a helmet-based ventilation system for patients with COVID-19.

Dr. Ivan Scrooby said the group — COSMIC Medical — collaborated to develop devices to treat patients with the virus and the bubble helmet was one of the ideas they came up with.

“The concept is not widely accepted as a form of treatment yet, and is used more so in Europe than in North America,” Scrooby said.

January 14, 2021

City halts free sand program after rural residents take advantage of it

A free winter sand program in Williams Lake is on hold this winter because people were taking advantage of it.

Public works manager Matt Sutherland said the first year they put the sand out in 2018 was good with residents using it as it was intended.

“A good 80 per cent of the people coming in were from the Cariboo Regional District or outside agencies, so we were turning them away because it was city residents’ tax dollars going out of the city,” Sutherland said.

January 14, 2021

Cariboo woman collects bed mattresses for those in need

A scene in a documentary of a social worker going into a home to conduct a wellness check of a single mom always stuck with Williams Lake resident Barb Charboneau, who began collecting and delivering beds for the needy across the Cariboo region.

Charboneau jumped on Facebook posting ads asking anyone in need of a bed for either themselves or someone they knew, as well as anyone getting rid of used mattresses that are in good, clean condition.

Within 24 hours, Charboneau received 17 responses from individuals in need of a bed, five of which she has been able to secure a mattress.

January 21, 2021

Rapid response paramedics deployed to lakecity

For only the second time since the start of the pandemic, BC Emergency Health Services deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) developed as part of its COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.

This time the specialized team headed to Williams Lake where there were large levels of COVID-19 patients in multiple clusters in the region and an outbreak at the hospital responsible for treating them.

The primary role of the MIRRT was to assist in the inner-facility transfer of COVID-19 patients and to support local paramedics with pre-hospital responses.

The secondary role of the team was to provide clinical site support at Cariboo Memorial Hospital when requested by the Interior Health Authority or local health professionals.

January 21, 2021

Body discovered near local business, foul play not suspected

Williams Lake RCMP confirmed a body was discovered Thursday morning, Jan. 14, 2021 behind a business on Broadway Ave. South.

Mounties and the coroner could be seen early Thursday morning behind Dog ‘n’ Suds Restaurant.

Williams Lake RCMP Officer in Charge Insp. Jeff Pelley said his officers are investigating the death in partnership with the coroner. There is no risk to the public and foul play is not suspected, he added.

An investigation by the Independent Investigions Office of B.C. later determined the Williams Lake RCMP and the Crown did everything they could to prevent the person’s death.

January 21, 2021

Williams Lake elementary schools added to growing list of confirmed COVID-19 exposures

COVID-19 exposure notices went home Monday, Jan. 18 to families of children in two elementary schools in Williams Lake.

School District 27 sent out a letter to parents of Mountview Elementary School noting a member of the school community tested positive for COVID-19.

A second letter was sent to families of Cataline Elementary School where there was also a confirmed COVID-19 positive case.

On Friday, Jan. 15, families of Columneetza Campus were notified of a COVID-19 positive case that was identified at that school involving a Grade 7 class.

January 21, 2021

Fire claims community hall at Yuneit’in First Nation overnight

Fire destroyed the old Yunesit’in First Nation band office/community hall in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021.

Rhoda Petal, an administration assistant with the Yunesit’in First Nation (Stone), posted the news on Facebook, noting a young person woke up a staff member to report that the building was on fire between 4 and 5:30 a.m.

“(So) disheartening to see many memories go up in smoke,” Petal wrote.

January 28, 2021

Horsefly community hall gets makeover

Horsefly’s 66-year-old community hall received an improved water system and a commercial kitchen. Paul Hearsey, president of the Horsefly Community Club and Owen Knox worked on the upgrades for about a year.

“This hall was built in 1955 so it’s getting up there but it was built like a fortress,” Hearsey said, noting the community hired a single contractor and all the rest was done by volunteers, even the concrete foundation.

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