BIG WHITE (NEWS 1130) – A positive case of COVID-19 has been reported at Big White Ski Resort after a party a couple of weeks ago.
Senior vice president Michael J. Ballingall says testing is underway to determine who else may have contracted the virus.
“Like any community that has thousands of people living in it there are employees that work for various organizations around the resort, and young people tend to think that they aren’t affected by COVID-19,” he tells NEWS 1130. “When they get together as groups, unfortunately, in our case, someone tested positive and we have asked Interior Health to come to the mountain — because most of these people don’t have cars to get to town to get tested — to come up to the mountain to perform some COVID-19 testing.”
Testing has been underway since Friday and Ballinghall hopes another 60 to 80 people are swabbed on Monday.
Ballingall says a number of people are “incredibly stressed” after learning someone with the coronavirus attended the party on Nov. 28, wondering what their next steps are.
There's a #COVID19 case at Big White near Kelowna. Big White says it's someone who works on the mountain but not directly for the resort. @Interior_Health has been testing people since Friday and that continues today. Case is linked to a party w/20-25 people on Nov. 28. @NEWS1130
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) December 14, 2020
It’s believed between 20-25 people attended that gathering.
“The obvious public health orders not to have gatherings are the protocols,” Ballingall says after being asked if there were any measures party-goers should have been following, aside from the provincial order.
“For our particular staff that work with us, we have a social contract with our staff and there’s a list of the protocols that they need to follow,” he explains. “For those that live in the accommodation provided by us, we have security 24/7. There’s no gatherings, there’s no bringing people over to your accommodation — that seems to be working very well.”
However, Ballingall notes the staff that work at Big White and live in private accommodations are only bound by what the bylaws dictate.
The people who attended the late-November party have been asked to self-isolate.
Despite the positive case, Ballingall says there’s no concern for the remainder of the season.
“I think the good thing that’s happening at Big White Ski Resort right now is that we have tested for this scenario, we are following the guidelines of Interior Health. We are working very closely, as an employer, with the contact tracing that they have in place and we’ve been able to isolate people that are self-monitoring and we believe that, very much so, we have what we can control is currently controlled,” he explains.
He stresses there has not been any cases of COVID-19 “in the workplace” at Big White, and that operations are not impacted.
The person who tested positive for the virus does not work for the ski resort.