(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

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

The Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trail Society will build a trail on Mount Buchanan, seen here with society secretary Stuart Heard, with support from Columbia Basin Trust. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay trails receive Columbia Basin Trust funding

Several locations in the West Kootenay are undergoing upgrades

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

Police also describe a car crash in the parking lot that sent a woman to the hospital for assessment. Photo: Black Press file
Trail RCMP save senior from losing $10,000 in phone scam

Weekly briefs provided to media by Greater Trail Sgt. Mike Wicentowich

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read