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North Battleford battens down the hatches to deal with Omicron

Proof of vax at facilities remains, but more precautions happening behind the scenes
Council Jan. 10
City Manager Randy Patrick (below) addresses council on their COVID-19 response.

NORTH BATTLEFORD - The city of North Battleford has indicated it will not be letting up any time soon in their efforts to deal with the Omicron variant.

At their meeting Monday night, council accepted administration’s recommendation to continue with the current restrictions at their various facilities, including the current proof of vax/negative test requirements.

The reason the city is continuing with the restrictions, according to City Manager Randy Patrick, is because “we’re still not sure of the hospital numbers”. 

“We just don’t know enough about what’s going to happen with this and the numbers are going up fairly dramatically.” 

He noted current numbers of COVID-19 in the province are running at about 1,000 cases a day. 

While little change is coming to current restrictions and requirements at the city's recreation facilities, the indication from Patrick was that other actions were happening behind the scenes.

Patrick noted some of the precautions happening in the city’s own workplaces. In addition to the additional barriers put in place and vaccination requirements for staff, they have also installed some ventilation systems “that are supposed to be able to remove some viruses.” The water treatment plants are also being kept separate from the other staff.

The city is also stepping up precautions at the fire department, by “more formally” closing down the fire hall to the public. Rapid antigen tests will no longer be distributed to the public from that venue effective Tuesday of this week. Instead, those will be available only at City Hall.

The big concern for the city, Patrick indicated, is the prospect of more staff being out sick.

He noted there have been “a few employees” who have come down with COVID-19 — “not a whole lot, but we are anticipating that might change.”

If it does, he said, there might be closures of recreation facilities for an hour or two because they can’t get enough people in. They will let council and the public know if that happens. 

Patrick also told the meeting that the city will soon no longer accept paper-card copies as proof of vaccination at their facilities. Instead, they will be requesting the proper QR codes.

In general, council was satisfied with what they heard from Patrick.

“I’m very happy to hear that the city’s taking all precautions, not just at rec facilities but at our city, to make sure that our essential services continue at a time when we are seeing high levels of infection,” said Mayor David Gillan. “We don’t want to have any disruption to key services like water, sewer, police, fire, these sort of things.”