B.C.’s Health Minister, Adrian Dix is now calling Covid-19 “the Pandemic of the Unvaccinated” as rising COVID-19 hospitalizations in northern B.C. have forced critically-ill people to be flown to hospitals hundreds of kilometers away: Thus, more restrictions have been put in place in the region to stem transmission of the virus.

During a press conference Thursday (today), Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the Delta variant of the virus has been putting younger people in hospital in recent months.

“We are in a very different situation than we were in even a few months ago. The Delta variant that we are seeing across the province, almost 100 per cent, is way more transmissible; it spreads faster and it spreads with a small amount of exposure in a different way than what we have seen in previous strains of the virus,” Dr. Henry said.

“And we are seeing it cause more severe illness in younger people as those unvaccinated people in their teens – but primarily in their 20s, in their 30s, in their 40s – are ending up in critical care, ending up in hospital. We are seeing hospitals and ICUs filling up with young, otherwise healthy individuals, battling to breathe with COVID-19. And many people, even if they have mild illness, are now having long-term effects.”

She added that a Northern Health resident, in their 20s died from COVID-19 Thursday.

Due to what Health Minister Adrian Dix called an “enormous challenge” in the province’s north, Dr. Henry announced a new public health order Thursday that requires indoor and outdoor personal gatherings in the north to be limited only to vaccinated people. Indoor gatherings must be limited to five people, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. This means unvaccinated people are not allowed to visit others’ homes in the province’s north.

Organized events in the north like weddings are required to have a COVID safety plan, and attendees must all be vaccinated. Indoor events are capped at 50 people, while outdoor events are limited to 100.

Subsequently, the new order prohibits in-person worship services, and services must once again be done virtually. Single-person services, remain allowed.

Restaurants in the north have been restricted to selling alcohol until 10 p.m., and nightclub settings – will be required to close in the north.

Some Northern communities where vaccination rates are higher are exempt from the new orders. The order takes effect at midnight and will remain in place until at least Nov. 19.

Both Dr. Henry and Minister Dix, encouraged people in the north not to travel for non-essential reasons.

Both Dr. Henry and Health Minister Dix, continued to urge British Columbians to get vaccinated for COVID-19, to help slow transmission and reduce hospitalizations.

Dix added, “fifty-eight people have been recently flown from ICUs in the north to hospitals on Vancouver Island and into the Lower Mainland, primarily due to overcrowding – from unvaccinated COVID-positive people.