Another 25 confirmed covid-19 cases have been linked to Big White Ski Resort, BC, taking the total to 136.
The outbreak was first reported on December 15, when 60 cases were initially announced.
The cases occurred mostly from transmission related to shared housing. Michael Ballingall, vice president at Big White, told CBC that the tests are in response to several well-attended parties hosted by resort staff earlier in the month. All affected were required to self-isolate. Interior Health officials said there was a low risk to anyone who chooses to visit Big White, as long as they stick to safety guidelines.
“Everyone in the Big White community is reminded to avoid social gatherings and that socialization must be limited to immediate household bubbles. Please follow public health guidance such as physical distancing, washing your hands regularly, and wearing a mask.”
– Interior Health statement
The cases quickly escalated, growing to 76 cases on December 18, 96 cases on December 22, and 111 cases on December 29. Of the 136 cases, 27 are said to be active and isolating. 109 have recovered.
Big White responded by firing several employees. The employees were let go ‘for breaking a social responsibility contract’ that includes clauses such as reporting illness symptoms to managers and following public health orders around social gatherings. All employees are expected to adhere to the rules and sign a health declaration at the beginning of each shift, reports CBC.
“Big White Ski Resort Ltd has a zero-tolerance policy with any employees who are found to be in breach of these documents. To that end, we have had to let go some of our employees.”
– Resort statement
Canada has had 623,385 covid-19 cases and 16,253 deaths with covid. British Columbia has seen 54,629 cases and 954 deaths. The border between the US and Canada remains closed.