Local leaders in Revelstoke say there’s no signs yet that the resort municipality is turning a corner, as it deals with a growing cluster of COVID-19 cases.
As of Tuesday, there were 46 cases connected to the cluster and 32 active cases, which has now spread to a local elementary school.
City councillor Cody Younker says there’s concern that the number of cases is probably going to grow before the situation improves.
“My fear, and I think most of the community’s fear, especially our mayor by the statement he put out this morning, is that it sounds like this is still pre-emptive and it’s probably going to get a lot worse. We base that just off of what we’re hearing from more restaurants closing down, confirming they’ve now had exposures. More businesses, now a school exposure.”
Revelstoke Mountain Resort also opened last weekend, and Younker says he’s waiting to see if that has any impact on the virus spreading.
“The ski hill, I mean, I have to commend them. From what I saw in the pictures of what they put up, they did a really good job of ensuring social distancing in the lines. Compared to years previous when you’re just basically packed in like sardines. But still obviously really concerned about that,” Younker says.
“Thousands of people using the ski hill, many still riding up in the gondola together. Congregating in the parking lots, that kind of thing. I saw a large group walking downtown Friday and Saturday night. Just by my house even, in the downtown core, there were large groups walking down the streets. Not sure where they were going but concerning, of course, to see that.”
Now a week after the cluster was first reported, Younker says the reality has set in for residents about the cluster, saying many residents have actually done “an amazing job” to follow public health orders and to avoid non-essential travel out of their homes.
But he points out it feels a bit like a “ghost town.”
“There’s no nightlife, obviously most of the restaurants have moved to take out. A few more have just confirmed exposures in the last few days so now they’ve shut down. So in that sense it’s actually gotten better, in the sense that there’s less people congregating downtown. But worse, in fear of obviously what it’s going to do to the economy and local businesses.”
Yesterday, Revelstoke mayor Gary Sulz warned people to avoid travelling to the community while the cluster of cases remains, saying cases are likely still going to go up and he doesn’t want the virus spread to other communities or places like care homes.