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AHS doing onsite COVID testing at Lake Louise, Sunshine ski areas

“At this point in time, we are not recommending precautionary COVID testing for anyone who has visited or skied in the Banff-Canmore area recently,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health.
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The parking lot at Sunshine Village Ski Resort on Saturday (Dec. 12). EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

BANFF – Rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in the Bow Valley have prompted Alberta Health Services to do onsite testing at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise ski hills in Banff National Park.

“AHS is working closely with the operators of Lake Louise and Sunshine Village to conduct on site and community testing of all employees and contractors,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, on Tuesday (April 6).

“At this stage of the investigation, there is no identified single event or cause for this increase in cases.”

There are currently 64 active cases in the Banff-Lake Louise region and 35 in neighbouring Canmore. Three variant cases have been identified in the region. There were no outbreak sites listed on AHS's website on Tuesday.

Hinshaw said her local colleagues in the Bow Valley are working hard to prevent further spread in the area.

“At this point in time, we are not recommending precautionary COVID testing for anyone who has visited or skied in the Banff-Canmore area recently,” Hinshaw said.

“However, if you are symptomatic, as we always advise: stay home, isolate and arrange for testing.”

Meanwhile, the Town of Banff has offered space to the province of Alberta to be able to do mass vaccinations in the community as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

The Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) has also been advocating for increased distribution of vaccines in Banff, with the number of active cases growing from just six two weeks ago to 64 on Tuesday.

“The Town of Banff has offered facility space for mass vaccinations for residents in the region,” said Jason Darrah, the Town of Banff’s director of communications.

AHS officials confirmed they are in preliminary discussions with the Town of Banff about potential site locations.

“This is still very much in the early stages,” said Kerry Williamson, a communications spokesperson with AHS.

“Currently, immunization appointments for eligible Albertans are available at the community health centre by booking online or calling 811.”