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Banff mayor points to shared housing for rise in COVID-19 infections in mountain town

Last Updated Apr 22, 2021 at 7:47 pm MDT

Smoke haze from forest fires burning in Alberta and British Columbia hangs over Banff, Alta., in Banff National Park, Friday, July 21, 2017. Parks Canada has rejected a proposed gondola to take skiers or hikers from the Banff townsite to the summit at the Mount Norquay ski resort. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

BANFF (660 NEWS) — The mayor of Banff is pointing towards the town’s shared housing as to why there has been an increase in COVID-19 infections there.

Currently, Banff has the second-highest infection rate of the virus in Alberta, with just Wood Buffalo sitting higher.

“We do know that over 25 employers in town have people in isolation or are close contacts, it’s disturbing that we can’t identify specifically where the spread is and the numbers continue to grow,” said Banff mayor Karen Sorenson.

She adds that many of these employees live in close contact with other employees which is another cause of concern for the town.

“We, of course, have a lot of people who live in common housing here, staff housing, and that has become another very serious issue in terms of the spread,” she said.

She says the town is working with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to get as many vaccinations into the community as possible.

The town also has a couple of hotels working as isolation centres in an effort to control the spread of the virus.