Youth worker visiting Ahousaht tests positive for COVID-19; Health authority deems exposure low risk

Ahousaht, BC

A youth worker that visited Ahousaht from Nov. 17 – 20 has tested positive for COVID-19, raising concern among parents whose children engaged in recreational activities with the visitors.

According to Curtis Dick, director of Ahousaht’s Emergency Operations Center, a group of two or three “youth-type” workers arrived in the village by chartered water taxi on the evening of Nov. 17. The following day the school was closed due to a power outage.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, the workers participated in ultimate frisbee games with the school students, according to some parents, inside the school gym. Ultimate frisbee is a team sport where players work to get the frisbee into the opposing team’s endzone.

The youth workers left the village Nov. 20 on the same water taxi they chartered a few days earlier. On Tuesday, Nov. 24, Ahousaht leadership was contacted with confirmation that one of the guests had tested positive for COVID-19.

Curtis Dick says that staff at the Ahousaht EOC are working hard to collect facts and are following up on information. They are in contact with the health authorities and were waiting for information to come from the medical health officer.

“Things are looking good here,” said Dick, adding that Ahousaht has had a process in place since the beginning of the pandemic, and for the most part, people are following it. “We are telling people to self-isolate if they start experiencing symptoms.”

An email from Island Health Medical Health Officer Charmaine Enns deemed the potential exposure low-risk.

“This is to confirm that everyone in Ahousaht that had contact with the positive frisbee case on Friday Nov. 20 is deemed as a ‘low risk’ contact,” she wrote.

She went on to say that nobody has to self-isolate unless symptoms develop.

“It does mean that these individuals have to be extra diligent to monitor for any covid symptoms,” she wrote.

If symptoms develop, the person needs to self-isolate and have a COVID test done – either in Ahousaht or book an appointment in Tofino.

Many families and the boat skipper have gone into voluntary self-isolation as a precaution.

“We are working to be as transparent as possible about this so that we can ease minds,” said Dick.

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