(Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)

(Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)

Big White ties new COVID-19 case growth to ‘unsanctioned Australia Day gatherings’

Positive cases continue to stem from privately managed group housing

Big White Ski Resort is attributing new cases of COVID-19 on the mountain to “unsanctioned Australia Day gatherings.”

On Tuesday, Interior Health announced five new cases of COVID-19 tied to the Big White cluster, bringing the total number of cases since Dec. 15 to 231. The previous Friday, the health authority noted just one new case.

Michael J. Ballingall, Big White Ski Resort’s senior vice president, said the spike in new cases could be linked to increased testing prompted by Australia Day gatherings. Typically, the resort has a large number of Australian staff members. Though there are likely fewer due to the pandemic, some international staff are working at the resort this year.

Positive cases continue to stem from privately managed group housing, Ballingall said.

“The numbers are consistently at a point now where they’re somewhat manageable. Any positive cases at the resort is one positive case too many, but we are able to move those that require quarantine into safe, isolated housing immediately thanks to the work done by Interior Health, the Regional District and the Big White COVID-19 taskforce,” said Ballingall.

READ MORE: Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

READ MORE: Big White COVID-19 cluster grows by five cases

Previously, Big White announced it lost more than $7.3 million due to cancelling bookings from non-local customers.

“We are anxious to hear the latest from Dr. Bonnie Henry on Feb. 5, and once we have a better idea of what travel and tourism is going to look like over the next few months, we’ll be able to adjust our COVID-19 protocols as necessary to accommodate provincial travellers. Until then, it’s locals-only, and a reminder to stay in your household bubble, especially this weekend for Superbowl Sunday. Fewer faces, larger spaces should be your motto.”

On Tuesday, the resort has removed the passes of two people who refused to wear a mask indoors or in lift lines, as the resort and provincial health orders mandate.

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


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

CoronavirusSkiing and Snowboarding

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

Just Posted

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires Vancouver Island wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
UPDATED: Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

Most Read