TERRACE, B.C. -- Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton, following lab-confirmed cases of the virus among patients in the acute care and long-term care units.

The health authority says four patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in association with the outbreak, and monitoring and testing are underway to identify additional cases.

Enhanced outbreak control measures are also in place at the hospital. These include an increased focus on cleaning, enhanged symptom monitoring, restricting visits to only essential onesand a pause on group activities for long-stay patients.

Cases in the Upper Skeena have grown in recent weeks. 17 new cases of the virus were reported there from September 12th to 18th -- an increase from 5 new cases in the previous seven-day reporting period.

Four-fifths of Upper Skeena residents have had at least one vaccine dose.