Interior Health has announced a COVID-19 cluster linking 60 cases to Big White Mountain.
The health authority says that “large households and social gatherings appear to be responsible for much of the COVID-19 transmission related to this cluster.”
All identified cases are being instructed to self-isolate as health officials follow up directly with close contacts.
“This highlights the importance of limiting social activities and following COVID-19 protocols when indoors,” reads a bulletin issued by Interior Health.
Interior Health has also been on-site in the community performing outreach testing and says that “the risk is low” for families and individuals who visit and “stick to their immediate household bubble.”
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Michael Ballingall, Senior Vice President of Big White Ski Resort, tells Daily Hive that concerns of transmission began after a party hosted on November 28.
“We don’t believe that our staff were involved in that party,” he says in a phone interview. “But we’re also not naive to think that there could’ve been a few that we’re not aware of.”
Ballingall says that “some people tested positive” for COVID-19 as a result of the party, adding that Big White Ski Resort has a number of people in isolation in their staff accommodation.
Additionally, Interior Health volunteered to send a team to help test on the mountain and has been going on since last week.
“We were having a real struggle getting staff, residents to town,” Ballingall explains. “A lot of these people arrive on the mountain and don’t have vehicles, there is no public transportation between Kelowna and Big White.”
Interior Health says that they’ll continue to monitor the cluster for additional cases and are reminding people to limit all non-essential travel.
“Outdoor activities at Big White are considered safe for anyone following public health direction such as physical distancing, wearing a face covering, and staying home when sick.”