BC Emergency Health Services has deployed a Major Incident Rapid Response Team, based out of Vancouver, to Fort St. James Wednesday, Dec. 9, to help deal with 60-plus COVID-19 positive cases in the community of roughly 1,500. (BC Emergency Health Services photo)

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed a Major Incident Rapid Response Team, based out of Vancouver, to Fort St. James Wednesday, Dec. 9, to help deal with 60-plus COVID-19 positive cases in the community of roughly 1,500. (BC Emergency Health Services photo)

B.C.’s rapid response paramedics arrive in Fort St. James as district reaches 60 COVID-19 cases

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to Fort St. James

With 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a community of roughly 1,500, BC Emergency Health Services has deployed a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to Fort St. James Wednesday, Dec. 9.

The specialized team, based out of Vancouver, will support local paramedics and patients in the community and was developed as part of BC EHS’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. This is the first time the team has been deployed, a BC EHS spokesperson said.

The secondary role of the team will be to provide clinical site support at Stuart Lake General Hospital as requested by the Northern Health Authority and local health professionals.

“A highly-trained paramedic team is the ideal response to this small community with 60 plus COVID-19 positive patients and where there is only a small acute care facility,” the BC EHS spokesperson said.

“We are also there to support our own paramedic staff who have been on the front lines responsing to extremely high call volumes: 33 calls in six days.”

READ MORE: B.C.’s earliest COVID-19 vaccines go to health care workers first

The team will be made up of two critical care paramedics, one advanced care paramedic and a primary care paramedic, BC EHS said, and will be deployed for two to a maximum of four days, depending on the situation. If needed, a secondary relief team will be deployed to relieve the initial paramedics.

“Critical Care Paramedics are the highest level of paramedic with a focus on air medical response,” the BC EHS spokesperson said.

The community of Fort St. James, located roughly 160 kilometres west of Prince George, and the surrounding region has seen a rising number of exposures and positive cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

School District 91’s (Nechako Lakes) David Hoy elementary in Fort St. James reported a positive COVID-19 case on Nov. 30, Dec. 1.

At Fort St. James Secondary School, an exposure was reported from Nov. 20-26, and at the independent Nak’albun Elementary School another COVID-19 exposure was reported from Nov. 22-25.

READ MORE: Mink on Chilliwack farm test positive for COVID-19 virus

Both School District 91 schools remain open. A letter, meanwhile, was sent home to parents on Dec. 7 from Northern Health stating the risk of additional COVID-19 cases was low.

On Dec. 4, Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief Aileen Prince issued a two-week shutdown of the Indigenous community, located adjacent to Fort St. James.

“It’s time to get serious,” Prince said in a video posted on Facebook. “Please. It’s the only way we can get a handle on this … We cannot afford to risk more of our people.”

On Dec. 1, Northern Health also issued a notice of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at The Key Resource Centre and The Cold Weather Shelter in Fort St. James between Nov. 12-25.



greg.sabatino@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusNorthern Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bella Coola’s new WildSafeBC co-ordinator, Rae Kokeš, has spent the last 10 years in Africa working in lion, human, conflict, and is a wildlife biologist by trade. (Photo submitted)
From the savannas of Africa to the Bella Coola Valley

New Wildsafe BC coordinator ready to tackle wildlife conflict

Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club board member Annika Granander watches, and participates in the gymkhana Sunday (Photo submitted)
Sunshine and smiles all around Bella Coola Ridge Riders Horse Club gymkhana

The event was the first of the year, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place

A build up of lint in a clothes dryer is believed to have caused a house fire in Alexis Creek Sunday evening, April 4, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Clothing dryer suspected cause of Alexis Creek home fire, owner wants to warn others

Neil Miller is thankful he still has his horses, community support and his life

This will be the second year the Bella Coola Valley Rodeo won’t take place due to the pandemic. (Michael Wigle file photo)
Bella Coola Valley Rodeo cancelled for 2021

Club organizers say next year’s rodeo will be bigger and better than ever

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Most Read