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Coronavirus: Revelstoke mayor urges tourists to stay away as community cluster grows to 46

Click to play video: 'Revelstoke mayor urges tourists to stay away as local cluster grows' Revelstoke mayor urges tourists to stay away as local cluster grows
Revelstoke mayor urges tourists to stay away as local cluster grows – Dec 2, 2020

As predicted by Interior Health officials last week, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Revelstoke has risen.

On Tuesday, the regional health authority announced the community cluster is now at 46 cases.

That’s up from 22 cases when the coronavirus cluster was first disclosed last Thursday. By Friday, another seven cases had been identified, pushing the total to 29.

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The rising case count has Revelstoke’s mayor reminding people to follow provincial advice and not take non-essential trips anywhere in the province, including to Revelstoke.

“The message about non-essential travel is not getting through, so we are still seeing people come. They are coming here because they feel that they need to do outdoor recreation … so we are a little concerned about that,” said Gary Sulz, Revelstoke’s mayor.

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Sulz said it’s hard as a tourism-based community to ask people to stay away, but he’s hoping that if everyone follows public health guidelines on travel, B.C. can get through the pandemic without major shutdowns.

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The mayor said the mountain community also wants to ensure its health-care services are not overwhelmed.

“I don’t believe we have anyone in hospital with COVID-19, but we have a limited number of beds and we only have two respirators, so it’s not like we can take on a whole bunch of things,” Sulz said.

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The rising case count does not come as a surprise to the mayor or health officials.

Sulz said he expected the higher numbers this week — not because he’s seen people acting irresponsibly, but because it takes time for people to realize they are sick.

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“That’s kind of the insidious nature of this virus,” the mayor said.

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Stating that the average case age was in the low 30s, Interior Health said last Friday that “additional cases are not unexpected as the public health investigation continues.”

Now, according to Interior Health, of the 46 cases, 32 are currently active. The health agency stated that “many of the new cases are associated with previously confirmed cases.”

IH added that as contact tracing continues, its priority is to ensure that anyone exposed is self-isolating and all close contacts are identified and receive follow-up from public health.

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Further, the health agency said an exposure event related to this cluster has been identified at Ecole de Glacier Elementary.

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“Public health is following up with any close contacts,” said Interior Health. “All schools have safety plans in place and students who have not been contacted directly by public health can continue to go to school.

“This cluster illustrates that COVID-19 is in smaller rural communities as well as larger urban centres.”

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Interior Health said it is continuing “to highlight the importance, especially at this time, of limiting your social activities and following COVID-19 protocols.”

“Socialization must be limited to your household bubble and you should not be attending gatherings at this time. People should be physical distancing and masking when unable to stay apart during essential activities.”

Along with staying in your own community, IH said people should not travel unless necessary, not get together in groups and to avoid carpooling.

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Interior Health said increased testing in Revelstoke is available – via an appointment – for people with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Body aches (muscles and joints aching)
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Other milder symptoms may include runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, vomiting and red eyes.

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Booking a test:

Online: You can book an appointment online through the COVID-19 Test Booking Form.

By phone: Call the COVID-19 Test Booking Line at 1-877-740-7747 for assistance with booking your test.

Testing is not recommended for individuals who do not have symptoms.

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