British Columbia

Well-known B.C. businessman recovering from COVID-19

Lane Merrifield, an entrepreneur and cast member on CBC’s Dragons' Den, is recovering in Kelowna, B.C., after catching COVID-19 on a snowboarding trip in the Rocky Mountains.

Lane Merrifield believes he caught COVID-19 while on a ski trip in Golden, B.C., in mid-March

Lane Merrifield, who joined CBC's Dragons' Den in 2018, is recovering from COVID-19. (CBC)

Lane Merrifield, a well-known Okanagan entrepreneur who created the children's social network Club Penguin, is recovering in Kelowna, B.C., after catching COVID-19 on a snowboarding trip in the Rocky Mountains in mid-March.

Merrifield, a cast member on CBC's Dragons' Den, says he caught the virus from another person on the trip who Merrifield believes had just returned from overseas travel, shortly before joining dozens of people for a trip in Golden, B.C., from March 12 to 15. 

"I was pretty frustrated and pretty angry," he told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

"We'd all been angry and frustrated because this was right at the time when things were starting to lock down, but nothing official was happening yet."

The trip began before B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, issued recommendations against travel outside the country on March 12 and self quarantine for those returning from trips abroad. Strict physical distancing orders were put in place on March 16.

CBC was unable to confirm the identity of the individual, so claims about his travel history could not be corroborated. 

Merrifield would not name the lodge he stayed at, citing concerns of negative publicity for the business, but he did provide an email from the lodge, with the name redacted, in which guests were told of a positive COVID-19 case during their stay.

The Backcountry Lodges of B.C. Association said in an email that a confirmed case happened at a lodge in the area but did not say which one. 

The email from the lodge was sent on March 21, and three days later Merrifield says he started experiencing symptoms: fever, body aches, shortness of breath, fatigue and loss of taste and smell. 

Merrifield believes seven others from the trip also ended up testing positive for COVID-19. CBC has not been able to independently confirm this. 

Merrifield did not have to be hospitalized, and after three weeks, he's starting to feel better. 

"It's taking a while for my body to kind of come back from this one, unlike a cold or typical flu," he said. 

Merrifield urges people to heed warnings from health officials regarding COVID-19 and staying home. 

"Now's the time to be as selfless as we possibly can be and help each other out."

Clarifications

  • This story has been updated to include the dates of Merrifield's travel and how they coincided with physical distancing and travel orders. His trip was March 12 to 15, when major concerns around travel and group gatherings were just coming to light.
    Apr 23, 2020 5:30 PM PT

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