166864
166366

BC  

Origin of Revelstoke cluster unknown, but some visitors did test positive for COVID-19

No 'patient zero' in cluster

Interior Health has not been able to identify how a large cluster of COVID-19 cases were introduced to the community of Revelstoke, however, the region's chief medical health officer admits some non-residents have tested positive for the virus.

During a Zoom press conference Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Albert de Villiers said a "patient zero" has not been identified, despite Premier John Horgan stating earlier in the day that the cluster was caused by people travelling for recreation.

"What we can say with the numbers that we have seen that, yes, there are some people that are not residents in Revelstoke that sadly are infected as well," said Dr. de Villiers.

"But having said that, we have also seen there is no one specific incident that led to the bigger number of cases. There are some that have been household clusters, some people picked it up when they went to a worksite, some people may have gone to a private function. There are rumours out there we haven't been able to substantiate that someone went to a hot spring somewhere.

"I think there are different pieces of this. It's not just one person that travelled in and caused all of this, I don't think it's as simple as that."

Dr. de Villiers says people travelling in from other communities has been a factor in cases in other communities, which is why, he says, part of the provincial recommendations are for people not to travel outside their community if they don't absolutely have to.

"Sadly, skiing is not essential to most people," he said. "For recreation purposes, try to stick to your own community and stick to your own ski hill."

Dr. de Villiers also addressed an online post out of Revelstoke where an individual asked to be infected with the virus so he could become immune.

He says they've seen it before with chicken pox and the measles, but it's a bad idea with COVID-19 because people don't know how they'll react.

"Most people will have a relatively mild form of the disease...but there are people, relatively healthy people, that can develop complications. We've had people throughout Canada of all ages that have passed away," he said.

"I don't think we want to put people at risk unnecessarily."

The doctor also explained why it took two weeks for IH to publicly disclose the cluster in Revelstoke.

He says over a two-week period there were only 10 cases, one every day or second day, which isn't abnormal within communities.

"But, all of a sudden in one day, there were 12 more cases," he said. "That's why when we did announce it, it was 22, because there was one day that had more than usual."

He said they do expect cases to pop up in communities, but the large one-day jump was reason to believe there may have been an issue.



More BC News

168525