After the number of COVID-19 cases in Whistler skyrocketed in recent weeks, the rate of community coronavirus transmission appears to be decreasing.
In a news release issued Wednesday, Feb. 10, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) reported that the spread of the virus within the resort seems to be slowing compared to recent weeks. The health authority said its staff have identified 43 new cases of COVID-19 in Whistler between Feb. 2 and Feb. 8, as well as an additional 24 older cases with earlier symptom onset dates.
That brings Whistler's total case count since Jan. 1 to 614. The resort logged 547 cases between Jan. 1 and Feb. 2, prompting B.C. health minister Adrian Dix to reveal during a Feb. 5 media briefing that “significant enforcement” would be taking place in Whistler.
"[W]e need to take action now … That’s way, way, way too many cases," he said.
To that end, more than half of the Whistler businesses WorkSafe BC visited as part of an inspection blitz Jan. 30 and 31 were cited for violating COVID-19 regulations, with inspectors writing orders for 35 of the 62 local workplaces they visited. Following last month's sharp rise in cases, B.C.'s Ministry of Tourism is also expected to release a “full action plan” this week aimed at reducing transmission at ski hills across the province.
Still, the majority of cases continue to affect young adults with transmission stemming predominantly from household settings, and not skiing, says VCH. Public health officials continue to advise Whistler locals to avoid all social gatherings, stay home if sick, wash hands regularly, and maintain physical distance from others when in public.
Individuals who have already contracted and recovered from COVID-19 are advised to continue following the same public health protocols, as well.
- With files from Alyssa Noel