A number of positive COVID-19 cases among employees of various Sun Peaks businesses has the resort municipality’s mayor worried that the numbers may rise even more.
On Friday (April 9), there were 15 positive cases confirmed, with about 20 positive cases recorded in the past 10 days.
“It is quite widespread,” Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine told KTW. “We are concerned.”
As of yet, Interior Health has not declared an outbreak.
“The increased COVID-19 activity in Sun Peaks in recent days is concerning and we are monitoring this situation. At this time an outbreak has not been declared,” said Dr. Carol Fenton, Interior Health’s Kamloops-based medical health officer. “We are currently conducting a thorough case and contact investigation to determine where and when exposures occurred. Interior Health will contact anyone who is required to isolate.”
Raine said the cases mainly involve employees of businesses in the community, including restaurants and pubs, adding that he does not know of any positive cases among visitors to the resort, which wrapped up its ski season last Monday (April 5).
Raine said those who have tested positive are isolating and contact tracing of people who may have been exposed has been undertaken.
He said the municipality is getting to the message out to the community via email, the Sun Peaks Independent News, social media and websites.
In addition, traffic signs are being installed to warn people coming and going of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the community.
Raine said the primary goal is to stop the spread within Sun Peaks.
“The concern we have is the mountain closes last Monday and a large number of employees packed their bags and went off to new jobs,” he said, noting they are being contacted to ensure they get tested and monitor for symptoms.
Raine said testing has been ongoing in the community on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with this past Friday (April 9) set to be the final day of testing as the focus turns to vaccinations. As a result of the spike in cases, he said the municipality and the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre are hoping to conduct more testing next week.
While the number of cases is concerning, Raine said the only saving grace may be the timing — coming as it did as the resort enters its quietest period of the year, that lull between ski season ending and the start of mountain biking, hiking and golf.
“As of Tuesday, when the lifts didn’t run, we’re like a ghost town,” he said. “Many restaurants are now closed completely. Pre-COVID, this is the period when businesses that have been running steady for six or seven days a week, this is when they take a break.”
As for now, Raine said the community is hoping for the best.
“We’re just crossing our fingers now,” he said.
Fenton said the cases in Sun Peaks offer another reminder about how important it is for everyone to be following public health orders and guidance, including staying home when sick, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing when out, sticking to small bubbles and keeping up good hand hygiene.
Fenton said people are also reminded of the provincial health order that allows up to 10 people to gather outdoors, with the group being the same all the time.
“Do not gather with several groups of new people.Stick to the same people,” she said. “Continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing. Patios and outdoor areas at restaurants, pubs and bars are not included as places to gather with 10 people at one table.”
Anybody who has been to Sun Peaks in the past 10 days is urged to monitor for symptoms and to call call 811 for further advice