(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

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes West Kelowna mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Pearson Road Elementary in Rutland Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Barry Gerding - Black Press Media)
COVID-19 exposures at Kelowna elementary school

Interior Health confirms virus exposures at Pearson Road Elementary

A render of the proposed expansion at Kelowna Christian School. (City of Kelowna)
City of Kelowna staff support major expansion of local school

Expansion would increase the size of Kelowna Christian School by roughly 3,540 square metres

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

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

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read