Sun Peaks agencies have taken swift action in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19 after recent testing diagnosed four people in the community with the contagious disease.
All four are staff members at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel, which is owned and operated by Sun Peaks Resort LLP.
Local testing results from Monday, Dec. 28, were promising, with 19 tests all registering negative for the novel coronavirus.
Sun Peaks physician Dr. Shane Barclay has taken a leading role in the community’s response to the virus and is urging the community to stay vigilant about following social distancing protocols.
Upon learning of four positive cases (one on Dec. 24 and three on Dec. 25), Barclay sent out a letter to the public, letting them know of the positive diagnoses. He also worked closely with others in the community to carry out contract tracing.
“I just thought, let’s make this real for people,” said Barclay, explaining his decision to get the letter out.￼
Nurses at the community’s pop-up testing centre — which operates three times a week and was advocated for by the municipality and the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre — ask patients if they want Barclay to be on their requisition form, allowing him to log in and check the status of tests the following morning.
“The system worked amazingly well,” he said. “By like, 8 a.m, I was able to phone all the patients and by noon … everybody had all of their contacts traced.”
Barclay credited the tireless work of Marc White, risk management and safety programs director for Sun Peaks Resort, for carrying out the contact tracing. A statement from the Sun Peaks Grand said the COVID-19 cases are related to social gatherings outside of work.
“In the past two days, due to the proactive work of our hotel team alongside community resources, we have been informed about four cases of COVID-19 within staff members at the Sun Peaks Grand,” reads a statement posted on the hotel’s website.
“All cases are related to social interactions outside the workplace and no guests have been impacted at this time … The four cases and associated close contacts are currently in self isolation.” Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine said he is hopeful the cases are contained, noting the community has worked well together to contain the outbreak.
“Getting the tests available here, getting the results within 24 hours and having the contacts made by the health centre in Sun Peaks, has been key to keeping this group somewhat under control,” he said.
For Barclay, the message people should take out of the recent cases is that they should be extremely cautious about their interactions with others.
“Imagine that everybody you are in any contact with is positive, just assume that they’re positive, and act accordingly,” he said. “It’s really simple: wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance.”
Barclay also recommended getting tested no matter what your symptoms are, noting they can be mild, particularly in young people.
The pop-up testing centre operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m.
Appointments can be booked online at interiorhealth.ca or by calling 1-877-740-7747 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Residents from out of country or province can be tested with an appointment, but are required to bring work visa documents and/or their passport.