Coronavirus concerns about the remainder of the ski season are creeping into the recreational arena after first creating uncertainty on the competitive circuit in recent days. International Ski Federation officials may cancel the World Cup Finals March 16-20 in hard-hit northern Italy.
Vail Resorts, a massive multi-national ski corporation based in Broomfield, Colorado, which owns and operates ski areas around the globe, issued a statement to Barron’s financial website:
“At Vail Resorts, the health and safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” the company said. “We’re closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization’s statements regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) cases and following the guidelines from these agencies and local health departments.”
FIS announced on Monday that it will decide the fate of the World Cup Finals alpine races in Cortina, Italy, on Friday, March 6.
The Chinese ski industry – in the nation where the deadly virus originated in early December – has been brutalized by coronavirus. According to Forbes, the industry has given up on the remainder of this ski season and is focused on next winter.
Men’s World Cup races, which would have been the first ever for China, were cancelled in January due to the outbreak. The races would have been a test event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Japanese ski areas, some of which have season pass partnerships with Vail Resorts, have also felt the impact of the virus this ski season.
And closer to home, Vail Resorts owns Stevens Pass just outside of Seattle, where there have been six confirmed coronavirus deaths so far. Vail also owns Whistler in nearby British Columbia, Canada, which sees a significant number of Seattle-area skiers as well as guests from Asia.
Thus far there have been no coronavirus cases reported in Colorado, although Vail Resorts has been dealing with a mumps outbreak at its Keystone ski area this season and a 10,000-person physics convention in Denver was recently cancelled.
Eagle County, Colorado, home to both Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas, has been taking precautions for weeks.
And the state of Colorado on Monday announced it can now do coronavirus, or COVID-19, testing. Here’s that press release:
Colorado State Lab able to test for COVID-19 now
State currently has no known cases
Denver, March 2, 2020: The State Laboratory at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment can now test for COVID-19. Prior to now, testing had only been done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The test will be used for people who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing only; it is not available to the general public.
With current staffing and equipment resources, the state lab has the capacity to test up to 160 samples per day, assuming test kits from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are continuously available. Turnaround time for results is expected to be within 24 hours of specimen receipt at the state laboratory.
“Being able to confirm or rule out cases of COVID-19 at the state level allows us to be more nimble in responding to and controlling this disease if it occurs in Colorado,” said State Lab Director Scott Bookman. “The time frame for testing cases should be quicker than ever.”
In Colorado, there are three circumstances where public health may decide that a patient needs to be tested:
If a medical provider thinks a patient may have COVID-19, the provider will contact the state or a local public health department for instructions on testing. If a patient needs to be tested, the medical provider will collect a specimen from the patient’s nose and throat and send the samples to the state lab. Public health agencies will make the final decision about testing for COVID-19 virus.
Colorado currently has no known cases of COVID-19. The collaboration between public health, health care providers, and other agencies to prepare for the disease in Colorado is ongoing. The state will continue to investigate and test possible cases and provide timely updates about the situation.
Reliable sources for information about COVID-19