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Fernie mayor says COVID-19 impacting services

Fernie’s mayor said a large spike in positive case numbers is impacting municipal services, including recreation and snow removal.

The spread of the illness in the community is impacting supplies, staffing and contractors.

“Our organizations feeling the impact of Omicron, with a shortage in staff. It’s going to impact our ability to do the regular services that people need,” said Mayor Ange Qualizza. “I need people to be really patient right now because we’re facing a winter storm warning and I know we have a reduced capacity for snow removal.”

City of Fernie officials said all available staff and equipment will be working on snow removal, with priority given to critical infrastructure and emergency services.

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For recreation services, city officials said staff will do their best to provide access to facilities and recreation programs, but hours may be modified or reduced, and facilities may close with short notice.

According to data from the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Elk Valley reported 211 new COVID-19 infections between December 26th and January 1st.

“We were told to brace for impact by Dr. Bonnie Henry, and that is certainly what Fernie and other communities are doing. Omicron has spread through our community as fast as it was predicted. The numbers took a severe spike,” said Qualizza. “My message to the community is one of using all of the layers of protection to keep yourself safe and slow the spread down.”

Qualizza noted that City Hall will still be open to accept applications and process payments.

More: East Kootenay COVID-19 cases take steep jump over holidays (Jan. 6, 2021)

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