APRIL 14 UPDATE
The third wave of the pandemic has arrived in Powell River. This evening the BC Centre for Disease Control announced that for the period of April 4 – 10 there were 15 new cases of COVID-19 reported for the Powell River Local Health Area (includes City of Powell River, qathet Regional District (minus Lasqueti), and Tla’amin Nation).
These high case numbers remind us of the importance of strictly following Public Health guidelines to
- Wear a mask in indoor public settings
- Wash your hands properly and regularly
- Do not travel unless it is essential
- Do not gather inside your residence with anyone other than members of your household (or if you live alone in your core bubble)
- Do not gather outdoors with more than 10 people, and keep those 10 people consistent
Our article, published in today’s Peak online, contains our full weekly update:
As the third wave of the pandemic makes its presence known in the area, and the local COVID-19 vaccine rollout gets established, things have been changing quickly in Powell River’s pandemic response in recent weeks.
Second and third phases of BC’s COVID-19 immunization program have been successful, with a large number of eligible seniors over the age of 70 being vaccinated at clinics in the community. We are now vaccinating those 65 years of age and older, in addition to community pharmacies offering AstraZeneca to those between the ages of 55 and 65.
Situational changes can make it difficult to keep up with the details and we wanted to provide an update for the community at this time. First, we would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of all local health-care workers and support staff to keep things moving forward. For ongoing local updates and the most current local information available on vaccines, testing, clinics and more, go to prcomplexclinic.com.
Regarding vaccinations, people who are 55 years and older (born in 1966 or earlier) and indigenous people 18 and older (born in 2003 or earlier) can register for an appointment now. People born in 2005 or earlier who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and who have received an invitation letter can also book an appointment or register online at this time.
On April 12, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced new preregistration dates for vaccines by age group. Once someone has preregistered, they will be contacted to book an appointment when they are eligible to receive a vaccine.
People born in 1971 or earlier (50-plus) can preregister for an appointment now. Those born in 1976 or earlier (45-plus) can preregister as of 12 pm on Friday, April 16. Those born in 1981 or earlier (40-plus) can preregister as of 12 pm on Monday, April 19.
To avoid overloading phone lines, people are asked to use the online booking system at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca when possible. People not able to preregister online can phone 1.833.838.2323 between 7 am and 7 pm, seven days a week.
The frontline/essential workers’ vaccine rollout is currently paused due to an advisory from Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to temporarily hold AstraZeneca vaccines in those under the age of 55. This is a group of people who deserve prioritization, which has been provincially acknowledged. We are hopeful this program will be able to get rolling again once either the AstraZeneca vaccine concerns are clarified and we can safely use them, or it is possible to offer alternative vaccines.
Local appointment slots are added in waves, so if no appointments are available when someone tries to book, they should check back in a few days. Vaccine supply is distributed by the Government of Canada and BC receives an allocated number of doses of vaccine on a weekly basis.
The number of vaccine appointments and clinic days may vary depending on the number of doses allocated each week. There is still a scheduled vaccine clinic day available to book appointments in the community (April 27), with the clinic schedule and bookings picking up as the allocated amount of vaccine increases.
Travelling out of town to get vaccinated is discouraged as the non-essential travel ban is still in place to reduce further spread of the coronavirus and its variants.
For testing, there are two sites where people can currently get tested in Powell River. The Medical Clinic Associates on Joyce Avenue is doing COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday, with the exception of stat holidays. To request an appointment, fill out the form at prcomplexclinic.com. This is the preferred method of booking so phone lines do not become overwhelmed. However, anyone not able to book online can call 604.485.3572 between 9 and 11 am on weekdays.
COVID-19 testing is also being done at the emergency room at Powell River General Hospital. People with severe symptoms, or those needing a test outside medical clinic hours should seek a test at this location.
Residents of Texada Island should call 604.486.7525 to book a test if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 testing is being offered at the Texada clinic Monday through Friday.
We thank all Powell River and area residents for their patience in the vaccine rollout and encourage all community members to continue to follow public health orders to help protect ourselves and one another as we navigate our way through this third wave of the pandemic.
Local weekly updates are available from Powell River Division of Family Practice at prcomplexclinic.com. For the local weekly doctor’s notes newsletter, subscribe at prcomplexclinic.com/covid-information-hub.
For regional vaccination information, look up VCH at vch.ca/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine.
For weekly case count updates for the Powell River region, go to BC Centre for Disease Control at bccdc.ca.