Vaccination rates in Houston and area remain low. (File photo)

Vaccination rates in Houston and area remain low. (File photo)

Houston and area continue to have low vaccination rates

Public health order restrictions renewed

The Houston area continues to show some of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the region, indicates data from the Northern Health Authority.

As of Nov. 17, 78 per cent of the population or 2,636 people 12 years and older had a first dose and 71 per cent or 2,382 people had a second dose.

The same data indicates no one received a first dose during the week leading up to Nov. 17 and just 29 people received a second dose over the same time period.

For young people from 12 to 17 years of age, 63 per cent had a first dose as of Nov. 17 with no increase in the week leading up to that date while 54 per cent had a second dose for an increase of one per cent within a population of 327 people.

The Smithers rural area had an even lower first dose rate of 76 per cent and a second dose rate of 69 per cent.

Rates are low as well east of Houston with the area north of Burns Lake at 75 per cent first dose and 71 per cent second dose and with the area south of Burns Lake at 66 per cent first dose and 62 per cent second dose of people over the age of 12.

The Houston Health Centre has also slightly pulled back its clinic day schedule at the former Coast Mountain College campus building.

There was a clinic day yesterday with one tomorrow with the next taking place Oct 30. Times are 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on all days.

The weekly release Nov. 18 of weekly vaccination rate progress was followed the same day by a renewed public health order limiting gatherings and events because of low rates for large parts of the north stretching east of Kitwanga through Prince George and then into the Cariboo and then into the northeastern part of the province.

First put in place Oct. 15, the orders place restrictions on liquor sales and private gatherings. The orders were to expire Nov. 19 but have now been renewed indefinitely.

“At this time, NH Medical Health Officers have determined there remains a need for regional public health measures to limit transmission, reduce case counts, and reduce rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the North,” the Northern Health Authority said in a Nov. 18 news release.

Bars and night clubs and restaurants that use B.C.’s vaccine card for access must stop alcohol sales at 10 p.m while religious services are to be virtual only.

Personal gatherings are restricted to 25 or fewer people who are fully vaccinated, and those who have an unvaccinated person in their household are required to stay within their households.

From early fall, health authorities have regularly been flying COVID-19 patients to southern health care facilities to ease the strain on intensive care units in northern hospitals.