Three more Whistler Village restaurants and bars have been added to Vancouver Coastal Health's (VCH) list of COVID-19 public exposure sites.
The health authority on Wednesday, Jan. 27 warned those who stopped by Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Black's Pub and Buffalo Bill's Bar & Grill at virtually any point this month that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus during their visit.
VCH lists the potential exposure dates as Jan. 1 to Jan. 27 for Dubh Linn Gate, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 27 for Black's, and between Jan. 4 and Jan. 27 for Bill's, during each establishment's operating hours.
These alerts come on the same day that the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control updated its map of weekly positive case counts by local health area. According to that data, the Howe Sound health region—which comprises Whistler, Pemberton, Squamish, Lion’s Bay and parts of the southern Stl’atl’imx Nation—saw 224 cases of COVID-19 confirmed between Jan. 17 and Jan. 23. The number represents a massive spike from the 63 confirmed COVID-19 cases the region recorded between Jan. 10 and 16, and the 14 new cases reported in the region the week prior to that.
It also means the Howe Sound health region's average daily rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people is past the 20-case mark.
Though public health officials say the potential exposure events announced Wednesday are believed to be low risk, VCH asks those who were at any of the three pubs during the aforementioned times and dates to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. There is no known risk to anyone who visited Dubh Linn Gate, Black's, or Bill's outside of the specified dates and times.
Wednesday's alerts are the latest in a string of public COVID-19 exposure warnings recently issued for Whistler eateries. Earlier this week, Hy's Whistler, El Furniture Warehouse, and Longhorn Saloon were similarly named as potential exposure sites. That brings the total number of Whistler venues currently listed on the health authority's public exposures page to six.
In a notice posted to its website Wednesday, Dubh Linn Gate staff said the restaurant is temporarily closed. "As we continue to navigate through this challenging time, safety continues to be our primary concern," the statement reads. "We remain vigilant in addressing the protocols set forth by [p]ublic [h]ealth and are working in conjunction with health authorities to protect our staff, guests, and community."
Gibbons Hospitality confirmed Monday, Jan. 25, that the Longhorn Saloon also closed temporarily after a staff member tested positive, in addition to reports of a separate potential exposure from guests of the restaurant.
VCH's public health team typically only issues public exposure alerts if contact tracers have determined that there was a risk of public exposure and officials are unable to contact everyone who may have been exposed.
Whistler's recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases has affected numerous businesses outside of those listed on VCH's public exposures page, ranging from Whistler's animal shelter to Whistler Blackcomb. Splitz Grill also closed temporarily after a staff member tested positive last week.
These are the COVID-19 symptoms to look out for ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
As public health officials explain on VCH's website, the symptoms of COVID-19 may include fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste and/or smell, and/or diarrhea.
If people who visited a location flagged for possible COVID-19 exposure remain healthy and do not develop any of the symptoms listed above, there is no need to self-isolate, and those individuals are free continue with their usual daily activities.
If one does develop any symptoms related to COVID-19, however mild, those individuals are advised to call their family doctor or 8-1-1, seek testing and immediately self-isolate.
- With files from Brandon Barrett