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

Cheryl Dill visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Talking jobs, tourism and business with Cheryl Dill in Parksville

Podcast: COVID-19 has far-reaching impacts on Vancouver Island

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

This photo shows crews battling the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Six fortunate to escape terrifying early-morning fire in Greater Victoria

Damage to the duplex extensive with one resident said to be ‘catatonic’ after escaping building

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

Most Read