The resort municipality of Sun Peaks has seen more COVID-19 cases in the past weeks than it has since the pandemic began in 2020.
The community is currently dealing with a cluster of cases, the first of which was documented on March 25.
“This was within a family cluster who were visiting Sun Peaks for the spring break,” reads a statement issued to residents. “They were from within BC but outside Interior Health.”
Testing around the community has since increased and Mayor Al Raine says that over the past week, they’ve had 25 positive tests come back.
“That’s not a big number but that’s more [cases] than we had in the past 12 months,” Raine tells Daily Hive in an interview. “So obviously, it became a concern.”
The mayor explains that prior to the cluster, Sun Peaks had only documented 17 cases since March 2020.
“We were doing fine but I think with the end of the season, people started to let their guard down a bit and there was a bit more travel.”
He adds that there was an increase in visitors from outside of Sun Peaks, especially after BC’s three-week circuit-breaker restrictions closed Whistler Blackcomb.
“I mean small numbers – we’re talking about hundreds of people but that’s just the nature of the beast,” Raine says. “Some of the employees have friends in other resorts. If their resorts close, they’re thinking about going around and visiting their buddies — especially if the mountain is open.”
Fortunately, Sun Peaks mountain closed for the season, meaning they aren’t expecting a significant number of visitors over the next few weeks. Raine also says that despite “a bit more travel,” they’re not “looking to blame anybody.”
Dr. Shane Barclay, who works at the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre, has asked that residents refrain from travelling out of Sun Peaks unless it’s “absolutely necessary.”
Interior Health is also scheduled to host immunization clinics between May 4 and 7.
“Our hope is that within the next few days, we’re going to have cases contained and no more spread, and life will return to normal in a few weeks,” Raine says.