FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2020, file photo, health care workers prepare to test motorists for COVID-19 at a testing site outside McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2020, file photo, health care workers prepare to test motorists for COVID-19 at a testing site outside McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Interior Health ‘cautiously optimistic’ following drop in COVID-19 cases, testing at Big White

To date, 44 of the cases reside on Big White Mountain and 57 remain active.

Interior Health (IH) is ‘cautiously optimistic’ following a drop in COVID-19 case counts and testing numbers at Big White Ski Resort.

However IH attributed the drop in numbers to two possible causes: cases are dropping, or people simply aren’t getting tested.

READ MORE: 16 additional cases identified in Big White COVID-19 cluster

Earlier today, the resort announced non-local individuals were not allowed to visit the resort during the holiday season.

READ MORE: Big White Ski Resort pulls passes, cancels bookings for non-locals

On Friday, and Monday, IH tested 140 people in total. Yesterday (Dec. 17) IH was at the resort again and tested about 30. Another crew is on the mountain testing today (Dec. 18).

To date, 44 of the cases reside on Big White Mountain and 57 remain active.

Interior Health’s chief medical officer Dr. Silvina Mema said testing is voluntary. IH is not mandating testing.

In addition to those who have symptoms, IH has also been testing people who live with those who have tested positive for the virus, even if they are asymptomatic.

“The reason why the number of tests could be declining, is because there is maybe less individuals with symptoms, and that’s very good news. But the other reason is that people may be feeling… embarrassed to go to get tested,” said Dr. Mema in a media call on Friday (Dec. 18).

She said it’s important the public not judge those getting tested. She said it’s important people continue to be tested if they have symptoms.

“We don’t want to judge or stigmatize individuals who are getting tested. We want to support them… we want to find cases really early before they develop symptoms,” said Mema.

She said the lower number of positive cases, and lower number of tests could be an indicator that this cluster will be declared over soon.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we will begin to see, gradually less and less cases, and that we can declare this cluster over really soon,” said Mema.

IH says transmission at the resort was likely caused by overcrowding in private accommodation.

Overcrowding, the health authority explained, is defined as more than two people staying in one room. They are currently working with landlords to educate them and put a stop to overcrowding. They could not confirm how many landlords they have spoken to.

Asked if there have been any instances of staff going to work sick, and possibly transmitting COVID-19 to guests, IH insinuated it is unlikely. Mema said the resort has safety plans in place that would prevent transmission on the mountain, including masks and sanitization.

Overall, IH sees a willingness for people to cooperate, and therefore will not be implementing extremely stringent measures at this time.

READ MORE: Kelowna-Mission MLA called out for liking “out of line” tweets

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

The BC CDC releases a map weekly that shows the geographic distribution of COVID in the province. (BC CDC photo)
Only one new case of COVID-19 in Golden region

The data shows new cases from Jan. 10 - 16

The Golden Rockets are keeping busy as the KIJHL team is ready to go when the league resumes games. (Claire Palmer photo)
Rockets keeping busy during COVID pause

The team is still practicing, waiting for the go-ahead for games

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Volunteer firefighters from Grand Forks Fire/Rescue head towards the scene of fatal car crash near Gibbs Creek Road, below Highway 3, Thursday evening, Jan. 21. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Motorist dies in Highway 3 crash west of Grand Forks

City first responders were called to the scene Thursday evening, Jan. 21

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram could be playing for Colorado when the NHL resumes play. (Rik Fedyck/file)
Cranbrook product Bowen Byram makes NHL debut with Avalanche

Highly touted prospect marks first pro game following World Junior tournament in Alberta

Most Read