Hello to all the people living on the shores of Stuart Lake.
The healthcare workers serving our residents report that we are still detecting new positive cases in the larger community but at a much lower rate than we found over the holidays. Fortunately, most of those who have tested positive in recent weeks have been self isolating with daily virtual assessment of their condition by nurses or doctors. During this period, we have also had fewer cases severe enough to require transfer to Prince George or other major centers. Sadly, there have been several of our fellow residents who have died as a result of the disease. Mayor and Council, as well as staff of the District of Fort St. James, would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to all the family members and friends of those that have lost their lives.
The Northern Health Authority (NHA) and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) have been allocated limited quantities of the Moderna vaccine, and our local health care workers have not been informed of the exact number of doses that will be initially available. At this point, it appears highly likely that vaccines will be arriving in Fort St. James on Monday or Tuesday (18th or 19th of January). FNHA healthcare workers will be receiving immunizations themselves and providing some of the most vulnerable (elders and those with chronic medical condition) in Tache, Binche, Yekooche and Nak’azdli. NHA staff will commence with vaccinating the residents of the long-term care unit at Stuart Lake Hospital, as well as the hopsital staff who care for them and other hospital patients. Once all of these individuals have been immunized, the next phase will be to immunize those people with those chronic medical conditions at a higher risk of severe symptoms and those over 80. Larger quantities of vaccine doses are scheduled to arrive within the following 2 to 3 weeks. As the vaccine is available to more residents, we hope to have everyone over the age of 18 immunized, in all our communities, as soon as possible.
While we are all excited about the arrival of the vaccine, it is important to realize that everyone needs to continue with the precautions that we have been using. There have already been some cases of people who have had both doses of the Covid vaccine testing positive for the virus. Whilst none of these individuals are experiencing symptoms of the illness, studies are underway to learn whether they are still infectious to others. So, don’t rip off your mask, run around hugging everybody, and stop hand washing as soon as you have had your second injection of the vaccine!
I would like to encourage everyone to roll up a sleeve and get the vaccine – the more of us that do so, the sooner that our communities will attain herd immunity, and the safer it will be for our elders and other medically vulnerable individuals.
At a recent meeting of CEO’s of major companies in the USA, such as Amazon, Walmart and Google, many of these CEO’s expressed support of mandatory vaccination of their employees. Many of us have hopes to travel to places near and far once its safe to do so. Some airlines have been suggesting that they may restrict travel for those with documented immunity (such as confirmed vaccination or confirmed recovery from a COVID-19 infection). Hawaii is planning to restrict admission to the islands for those with documented immunity. In Britain, the cabinet minister in charge of the vaccine roll-out has suggested that documented immunity may be a requirement for admission to British pubs once they are allowed to open!
Please continue to be kind to one another, wear masks, keep your distance, and regularly wash your hands.
On behalf of the Mayor and fellow Councillors,
Dr. Paul Stent
District of Fort St. James