17 COVID-19 cases in Northern B.C. linked to Alberta prayer gathering

VANCOUVER — More than a dozen COVID-19 cases in Northern B.C. have been linked to a prayer gathering held in Alberta, prompting a warning from the region’s health authority.

Northern Health posted the update Monday, saying contact tracing has linked several of its cases to the It Is Time Canada event in Deadwood, Alta., which was held between July 30 and Aug. 2. 

The health authority anyone who was at that event should self-monitor for symptoms and isolate and seek testing if they start developing any. 

Contact tracing has also shown that some people may be at risk of “secondary transmission,” from being in contact with cases related to the event. 

So far, 17 lab-confirmed cases have been identified. Twelve of those are related to attending the event, while the other five are believed to be from secondary transmission connected to the event. 

An additional 24 people are in self-isolation with active monitory by health officials. 

“Given the location of the event, it is most likely that residents of Northeast B.C. may have been in attendance, or had contact with attendees,” Northern Health’s statement says. 

“Northeast B.C. residents are strongly encouraged to self-monitor, and self-isolate and seek testing if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.”

So far, B.C.’s Northern Health region has had the fewest cases of COVID-19 in the province. As of Friday’s update from the provincial health ministry, 107 cases out of the province’s total of 4,358 had been recorded in that region. 

The event’s website says the gathering was capped at 100 people, including staff, speakers and attendees. Everyone at the gathering was required to sign an agreement form saying they weren’t showing symptoms of the virus and hadn’t recently been in contact with anyone with COVID-19.  

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