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60 cases confirmed in COVID-19 cluster at Big White

60 cases at Big White

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.

Officials with Big White Ski Resort say they will "act quickly and decisively to address the living conditions of our staff residing outside of our managed residences."

Senior vice-president Michael J. Ballingall made the statement after Interior Health revealed a cluster of 60 COVID-19 cases at the ski hill.

"Big White Ski Resort Ltd. wants to assure you we are taking this matter incredibly seriously," Ballingall said in the statement.

"We are not aware of any transmission in our company’s workplaces, this includes transmissions between employees at work and transmissions between employees and guests. Our main priority is protecting the health of our staff and all those that visit and use Big White Ski Resort."

He says the cases are a result of group housing and social gatherings.

The ski resort is working with community members, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and RCMP to mitigate the risk and eliminate further spread.

“We thank the community leadership at Big White for their ongoing support and collaboration, and we are confident with the safety plan in place by Big White Ski Resort Ltd.," the statement said.

"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. Interior Health will monitor this cluster for additional cases and environmental public health has been in the community to review safety plans at a number of locations and provide guidance and support as required. We would also like to remind people to limit all non-essential travel. This means, sticking to your own communities and visiting your local ski hill only."


ORIGINAL 2:45 p.m.

A large COVID-19 cluster has been identified at Big White Ski Resort.

Interior Health confirmed the cluster in a news release Tuesday afternoon, saying large households and social gatherings appear to be responsible for much of the transmission.

"Our investigation reveals 60 cases of COVID-19 related to Big White; mostly from transmission related to shared housing," the release states in part.

"All identified cases are required to self-isolate and public health continues to follow-up directly with their close contacts with guidance and support."

The health authority reminds everyone within the Big White community to practice social distancing and limit socializing to immediate household bubbles.

Interior Health first acknowledged cases had been detected at Big White on Monday, indicating a testing team had been deployed to the ski hill to "expedite testing." At the time, Interior Health did not indicate how many cases had been detected.

Despite the size of the cluster, IH officials say there is a low risk to families and individuals who choose to visit Big White, as long as they stick to safety guidelines.

"Interior Health will monitor this cluster for additional cases, and environmental public health has been in the community to review safety plans at a number of locations, and provide guidance and support as required.

"We would also like to remind people to limit all non-essential travel. This means sticking to your own communities, and visiting your local ski hill daily."



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