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‘The time is now’: Creston physician urges vaccination amid rising COVID infections

Just 55 per cent of Creston residents are fully vaccinated, among the lowest in Interior Health
Dr. Nerine Kleinhans has provided an update on COVID-19 cases in Creston (Courtesy of Town of Creston)

A Creston physician is urging the public to get vaccinated as COVID-19 cases climb in the region.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 case counts keep climbing: 689 new infections and 2 new deaths

“If you haven’t had time to get vaccinated, the time is now,” said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans in a Facebook post. “Please make the time for yourself, for your family, and for our community. “

Creston has seen 75 new cases of COVID in the last 14 days, of which 51 per cent of the patients are between the ages of 20 to 39. Kleinhans believes the number is likely higher because of people with asymptomatic or mild infections who may choose not to get tested.

Vaccination rates in Creston are among the lowest in the Interior Health region. Approximately 63 per cent of people have received their first dose, and 55 per cent have received both doses. Public health officials are asking the public to adhere to public health measures like wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene.

Kleinhans shared her experience caring for an unvaccinated COVID-19 patient who recently died at the Creston Valley Hospital.

“This patient didn’t believe in the virus, and most definitely didn’t believe it was the reason for breathing problems,” said Kleinhans. “The night this patient took a turn for the worse, they kept asking us to do something.”

The patient declined transfer to the Intensive Care Unit but was treated with every medication available.

“In the end, this patient was on a very high amount of oxygen, but without success,” said Kleinhans. “I think the hardest part of this sad story was having to watch the patient struggle due to being air hungry for days on end. My heart went out to the patient’s nursing staff and their family members. It didn’t have to be this way.”

RELATED: ‘We can’t handle this many cases’: Trail doctor warns hospital ICU could be overrun by COVID-19

RELATED: Unvaccinated young adults driving COVID-19 surge in Nelson: Interior Health

She said telling this story is not meant to frighten, but to inform Creston residents of the dangers they face in B.C.’s fourth wave.

Over the next week, there are two more pop-up vaccination clinics in Creston:

• Saturday, August 21 at Creston Farmers’ Market (inside the Chamber of Commerce) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Wednesday, August 25 at Creston Hotel and Suites Banquet Room (Jimmy’s Pub) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Walk-ins are available and no appointment is required to register and receive a first or second COVID-19 vaccine of either Pfizer or Moderna. Anyone in the area born in 2009 or earlier is eligible to receive their first dose of the vaccine. Anyone who received their first dose more than 28 days ago can get their second dose.

In addition to these pop-up clinics, the Creston Health Centre (located in the lower level of the Creston Valley Hospital, at 312 15 Ave. N) offers a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Wednesdays between 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Creston Health Centre is closed between 11:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, it is important to self-isolate even if you have no symptoms and feel fine. COVID-19 can still be spread by those who are asymptomatic. The Delta variant is considered especially contagious and can spread quickly.

READ MORE: Delta variant behind increase in COVID-19 case numbers in British Columbia: experts

For more information on the immunization clinics, click here.

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Kelsey Yates

About the Author: Kelsey Yates

Kelsey Yates has had a lifelong passion for newspapers and storytelling. Originally from Alberta, she graduated from SAIT Polytechnic's journalism program in 2016.
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