Steve Talsma, a manager with Columbia Valley Search and Rescue, said the organization is asking the public to “avoid any unnecessary travel outside of the home.”

COVID-19 is already having an impact on the number volunteers available to respond to emergencies.

“For that reason, the Canadian Avalanche Association and ACMG (Association of Mountain Guides) as well as Parks Canada are asking people to choose activities or objectives that lessen their risk for injury to ease the burden on our health care workers. We live in this valley largely because of the recreational opportunities available to us. We also have a small hospital and limited first-responder resources, so as a community we should be conscious of that as we make decisions in these times,” he said. “If anyone needs to contact 911, please inform the dispatcher if you have travelled, suffered cold or flu symptoms, or been exposed to someone who meets those criteria so that the responders can prepare and protect themselves appropriately.”

Kootenay National Park is closed, although roads remain open.