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Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pemberton

Anyone who was at the Pemberton & District Community Centre on March 11 from 2:30 to 8 p.m. to monitor for symptoms

The Village of Pemberton has confirmed two people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Pemberton.

Anyone who was at the Pemberton & District Community Centre or the Pemberton & District Library (which is in the community centre) on March 11 between 2:30 and 8 p.m. and is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 is asked to contact 811 for assessment. Do not go directly to the Pemberton Health Centre, officials say.

On Friday, the community centre announced it would be temporarily closing until further notice.

The Pemberton Benchlands information session took place at the community centre on March 11 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

In a letter Vancouver Coastal Health sent to community members who were potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus, officials say, "a small group of individuals has been identified who have a low risk of exposure and they have been informed and are being closely monitored. The risk of transmission to other participants is deemed to be very low."

It continues: "Out of an abundance of caution, we are notifying attendees of this event and asking you to: Monitor your health for fever, cough, malaise, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (until March 26th); and avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill."

Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman said closing the centre is one precautionary measure the Village is taking.

"This is not a finite closure, and we will be re-evaluating this preventative action on a daily basis," he said in a statement on the Village of Pemberton's website. "Be sure to watch our website and Facebook Page for updates."

"I want to assure you that in these coming weeks I will continue to work with our local medical professionals, Health Authority and the Province and we will provide timely updates," he said. "Please continue to exercise good hygiene habits and adequate distancing. Be good neighbours, check on our at-risk and and elderly family and friends. Our community spirit will not be stifled by this illness."

(Read the whole thing here).

Meanwhile, in a press conference on Saturday, March 14, provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced nine new COVID-19 cases in the last day in B.C. bringing the total to 73 confirmed cases in the province.

Seven of the new cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, one is in the Fraser Health region, and one presumptive case that is expected to be positive is in the Interior Health region.

Henry said anyone with mild symptoms and those who have returned from travelling do not need to be tested, but should self-isolate at home.

"We need to focus testing to ensure people who need the test are able to get it," she said.

She also advised people against hoarding food and basic necessities. "I want to assure everybody that the supply is there and we need to be measured in our approach, but not to hoard or have anxiety-provoking purchasing," she said.