More COVID-19 cases expected as testing continues at Big White | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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More COVID-19 cases expected as testing continues at Big White

Big White Ski Resort
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
December 16, 2020 - 2:33 PM

The cluster of 60 people associated with Big White Ski Resort may grow as more testing is done over the next few days.

About 70 people were tested in each of two clinics held there on Friday and again on Monday. Clinics will return tomorrow, Dec. 17, Friday and possibly next week, Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema told a news briefing today.

“We don’t want people travelling from the hill and coming here to get tested,” she said.

Dr. Mema explained that contact tracers had talked to a number of people last week who had COVID-19 symptoms and who had been to Big White.

Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema posed for a photo.
Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema posed for a photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Interior Health Authority

That prompted her to set up the first clinic on Friday. On Monday it was announced that two Big White workers had tested positive. By Tuesday, that number had jumped to 60.

Not all those cases are people who live at Big White. Some are people who did not have contact with the workers, Dr. Mema said, but are counted in the cluster anyways.

She could not say how many were workers versus outsiders, but the vast majority are workers.

Given the amount of shared accommodation used by Big workers, the rapid spread of COVID-19 was not unexpected.

“Most of the cases are individuals who live with somebody who has a case,” Dr. Mema said. “We are talking about large households, households that have eight, or even larger, maybe 16 or even more are in one household. We are seeing that individuals are sharing their bedrooms with two, three up to four people sleeping in the same bedroom.”

She doesn’t think any one individual caused the cluster but that a number of different people took COVID to the hill.

Given the experience there, health officials are setting up quick response units to react to possible outbreaks at other ski hills in the Interior Health region.

She is not advising against skiing at Big White but suggested people only go to their local ski hills and not travel further afield.


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