Hope Recreation Centre. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Hope Recreation Centre. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Hope rec centre to re-open, Fraser Health finds ‘no concerns’ after potential COVID-19 exposure

Facility closed Nov. 5 after several members of an arena user group had tested positive

The Hope and Area Recreation Centre will be re-opening parts of the facility as of Tuesday after Fraser Health found there were no concerns following a potential exposure event on Halloween weekend.

Re-opening Tuesday, Nov. 10 will be the weight and fitness rooms at the recreation centre as well as the Club Child after school childcare program, yet the Dan Sharrers Aquatic Centre and Hope Arena are to remain closed until further notice.

The rec centre closed Nov. 5 after staff were informed by a group that had booked the arena ice from 4:15 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 that several of their members had tested positive for COVID-19. Chief administrative officer with the Fraser Valley Regional District Jennifer Kinneman said Monday, Nov. 9 that there were no concerns following the potential exposure.

“The FVRD contacted Fraser Health and has confirmed that they have no concerns following the potential COVID-19 exposure event that took place at the facility on October 31,” she stated in an email.

Due to time-limited orders imposed by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry Saturday, Nov. 7, both the aquatic centre and arena will stay closed for the time being. “FVRD staff are continuing to work with health officials to identify how those areas may be reopened safely in compliance with these new orders,” Kinneman stated.

Organizations that organize group physical activities need to suspend these under the order. Other indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as boxing, basketball and martial arts, are also suspended. “These activities can be replaced with individual exercise or practice that allows everyone to maintain a safe physical distance,” the order stated. “Indoor group physical activities can only resume when the business has updated their COVID-19 safety plan and received plan approval from their local medical health officer.”

Details: Hope now included in new COVID-19 orders on gatherings, sports and more

Those who had sessions booked during the days the rec centre was closed will be offered refunds or an opportunity to re-book. Go to fvrd.ca to book time in the weight and fitness rooms.

At the time the rec centre closure was announced, Kinneman stressed that the risk to the public was likely very low, however, “out of an abundance of caution, we have closed the facility for deep cleaning and while we wait for recommendations from Fraser Health.” Kinneman added that COVID-19 safety plans are in place for the building and user groups also have to have their own safety plans before booking the facility.

The potential exposure came after an exposure event at Hope Secondary School, where an individual confirmed to have COVID-19 was at the school. “Case(s) have been isolated, and there is no direct exposure risk at this time,” a Nov. 1 letter from the health authority to parents read. Further down-Valley, several Chilliwack schools have experienced exposures to the virus and 26 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a Chilliwack dance academy.

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