The City of Williams Lake confirmed Friday, Sept. 4, that one of the employees at Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex tested positive for COVID-19. Williams Lake Tribune)

City of Williams Lake rec complex employee tests positive for COVID-19

The employee was quarantined on Aug. 20 and will not return to work without a negative test

The City of Williams Lake says a recent positive COVID-19 test from one of its employees at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex proves the importance of heightened safety protocols and procedures.

City director of community services Ian James noted in a press release the employer and employee took immediate action as soon as the employee discovered they had been in close contact with someone that had symptoms and had tested positive for COVID-19.

James told the Tribune the employee tested positive on Aug. 24. The employee’s partner had been out of town in Vancouver and returned home and wasn’t feeling very good and had symptoms.

“They contacted Interior Health around the 19th of August and then were both quarantined,” James said. “After spending a few days with the partner, the employee tested positive.”

Read more: B.C. records 121 new COVID-19 cases, another death ahead of long weekend

James said although no symptoms were present, the employee was immediately quarantined on Aug. 20 and will not return to work until they are fully recovered.

“Through effective tracing methods and timelines, Interior Health and the City were able to confirm that it had not spread to other staff members and there were no other contacts that would need to be notified from the public,” he said.

When asked why the public wasn’t notified until Sept. 4, James said the Interior Health Authority was leading the process.

“After they had done their thing, we pulled together as a City safety committee and made our news release,” James said.

James noted this is a clear example of why safety measures are so important during this trying and unprecedented time and that the City’s physical distancing and cleaning protocols were effective in containing the exposure to a single employee.

“We ask that the public also continues to follow the City’s safety protocols when visiting our facilities to limit the risk of transmission,” he said. “We need to do our best to keep our employees and the public as protected as we can.”

James said the public is asked to please continue to practice physical distancing, cleaning, and handwashing, and stay home when ill, as these efforts are crucial in keeping everyone safe.

“I think this is the best case scenario as the employee wasn’t here having contact with all sorts of people, but did all the right things by staying home and calling it in. Interior Health was involved right away,” James said.

Read more: Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex prepares to re-open June 29

This is the first locally publicized case of COVID-19 in Williams Lake since the beginning of the pandemic. Last month Dr. Bonnie Henry released a map of COVID cases which revealed there has already been three confirmed cases in the Cariboo Chilcotin, but no further information. Barkerville Gold Mines announced in August a worker at its mining camp in Wells tested positive for COVID-19.

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