By Andru McCracken

There is talk that someone who had a confirmed case of COVID-19 frequented a local business in Valemount, but after speaking with Gathering Tree owner Tanya Russell, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

A customer who was a close contact of a person with a lab confirmed case of COVID-19 contacted a local coffee shop – out of an abundance of caution – that she had been in the Gathering Tree two days prior.

Russell said after hearing this news she immediately contacted the COVID-19 hotline. She also simplified the flow through the coffee shop to aid people in social distancing.

Her COVID-19 plan is an 80-page document and was given the thumbs up by the Health Inspector.

“They just said continue sanitation practices and monitor all your staff for symptoms,” she said.

Russell said they have tightened things up since.

“We allow no more than four groups in and we have our menus posted outside. We’re asking that people send a rep in to order for the rest of their family and we immediately shuffle all takeout orders right outside,” she said.

When the Rocky Mountain Goat News contacted Northern Health, they were circumspect in their response, as they don’t typically confirm or deny if there was a case and only issue notices when it serves a clear purpose.

“We wouldn’t confirm any details of any rumoured, lab confirmed or [voluntarily] reported case unless there was a public health reason to do so, such as potential public exposure or an outbreak of some sort,” said Eryn Collins, a spokesperson for Northern Health.

Her message was simple: carry on following public health advice.
You know it by heart: Physically distance when you can, wear a mask when you can’t, keep your ‘bubble’ of close contacts small.

“When there is a confirmed case anywhere in the north, public health is notified so they can do the required contact tracing. That involves contacting close contacts and supporting them in any actions they could take.”

“To date we have not had any confirmed cases for which there may have been potential public exposure,” said Collins. “We have not had to issue any public exposure alerts.”

When these do occur they are posted on Northern Health’s website.

“The main thing to keep in mind is if you are a close contact of a confirmed case you will be contacted by public health and be advised as to what you should do,” said Collins. “To anyone else it is just really important to follow public health advice.”

She said if people have concerns they can call the Northern Health Clinic and Information Line at 1-844-645-7811.

They can also find public exposure events (where all affected people have not been able to be contacted directly) or outbreaks here: