The Mayor of Salmo is asking residents and visitors to take safety precautions after nine cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the community.
The village announced the cases Monday while also shutting down its office, the Salmo Valley Public Library, the Salmo Valley Youth and Community Centre and a thrift store. Village staff also tested negative for the virus.
Mayor Diana Lockwood said Tuesday that she wouldn’t be surprised if there are more cases yet to be discovered.
“I don’t want it to be a fearful thing for people,” said Lockwood. “I want people to be well aware that whether it’s COVID or the influenza of the day is that people are really diligent in staying home if they are sick in any way.
“And if you don’t believe in wearing a mask, then stay home.”
Interior Health told the Nelson Star in an email Tuesday that it was investigating the cases, but that its medical health officer was not yet declaring an outbreak.
“Identified active cases are self-isolating and public health is following up with any close contacts to ensure they are receiving appropriate guidance and follow-up,” read the email.
Salmo Elementary School and Salmo Secondary remain open. School District 8’s policy is to follow Interior Health recommendations when COVID-19 cases are announced.
Positive cases in Creston were also confirmed Tuesday morning, although the number was not disclosed.
It’s not yet clear how the virus made its way to Salmo, a community of 1,141 residents.
On Saturday, one positive case was made public by Salmo Community Services. Executive director Maureen Berk declined to say if there had been more positive cases among Salmo Community Services staff when contacted Monday.
Lockwood said she recommends residents and visitors wear masks, wash their hands and stay within their six-person bubble.
“People can still visit,” she said. “We have trails, we have takeout orders for our two little restaurants that are still open, so I wouldn’t say we are closing our doors. I would say we are being very diligent in making sure that everybody who isn’t sick continues to not be sick.”
Through Sept. 30, only 10 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed within the Nelson Health Area, which includes Nelson, Salmo and Kaslo.
But on Monday, Interior Health announced 53 new cases of COVID-19 in the region over the weekend.
Interior Health said COVID-19 testing is available by appointment only at the Salmo Wellness Centre as well as at centres in Trail, Castlegar and Nelson.