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

Just Posted

The Port McNeill Fire Hall. (Port McNeill Fire Rescue photo)
Port McNeill Fire Rescue gets big financial boost from government

Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom was thrilled by the funding announcement

The river behind the ball field. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Pulled by the flow: river stirs up childhood memories

Gazette editor makes trek through Port Hardy wilderness to swim in the river

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

The Comox Valley campus of North Island College. (File photo)
North Island College launches first Indigenous Plan

The plan signifies NIC’s commitment to become more Indigenous serving

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Supply of skilled tradespeople can’t keep up to Vancouver Island construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Most Read