PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. -- COVID-19 cases increased dramatically throughout the northwest last week, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Most notably, the Smithers Local Health Area (LHA) – which includes Smithers, Houston, Telkwa and Witset – recorded 159 new cases from December 26th to January 1st.

It’s a significant increase from the previous seven-day reporting period, when just 55 new cases were announced in the region.

Meanwhile, Kitimat saw 61 new cases last week, while Terrace reported 54.

Some areas with smaller populations have also been hit hard. 22 cases were reported on Haida Gwaii, while the Snow Country – Stikine – Telegraph Creek region in the province’s northwest corner saw 28 new cases.

Areas with lower per capita infection rates include Prince Rupert with 24 new cases, Nechako with 28, Burns Lake with 11 and Upper Skeena with seven.

The Nisga’a LHA reported no new cases.