Two Big White Ski Resort employees test positive for COVID-19 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Two Big White Ski Resort employees test positive for COVID-19

Big White
December 14, 2020 - 1:39 PM

Two staff members at Big White Ski Resort have tested positive for COVID-19 prompting Interior Health to travel to the resort to conduct widespread testing.

Big White Ski Resort senior vice president Michael Ballingall told Interior Health staff began testing Dec. 11 and came back today, Dec. 14.

As many staff on the mountain don't have vehicles and there is no public transport, Interior Health had to travel to the mountain to conduct testing.

Ballingall said the COVID transmission appears to have taken place about two weeks ago, and came about after staff gathered for a party and did not play be the rules.

His staff were told to abide by the Provincial Health Officer's orders and not gather, but he said is is very difficult to manage what happens in private accommodation outside of work hours.

Interior Health released a statement today saying it was investigating community cases of COVID-19 related to transmission caused by social activity in homes and accommodations. The health authority said it is performing contact tracing, and that no outbreak had been declared. 

"Given the shared nature of some accommodations in the community, some asymptomatic testing is occurring as an attempt to identify possible cases early," reads the statement. "Activities at Big White are safe for those who are visiting and following COVID-19 public health guidance."

Big White Ski Resort employs about 600 people which is about 55 per cent of all the staff on the mountain. The remainder of the other workers are employed by different private companies operating at Big White.

The resort houses around 20 per cent of its workforce, and unlike previous years where staff could be up to four in a room, under the pandemic protocols each staff member, or couple, get their own room.

Ballingall stressed the mountain's pandemic protocols have been in place since the mountain opened for the ski season and are very robust.

"Wear a mask 100 per cent of the time when you're in the lift lines, getting on and getting off the lifts, sanitizer your hands, stay six feet apart, and ride, arrive and ride in your bubble and don't gather," he said.

It is currently not known if any more positive COVID-19 cases have occurred at the mountain.

— This story was updated at 4:53 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 with information from Interior Health.

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