Authorities should disclose if COVID-19 in community

Once we know the virus is among us though, we can be much more careful

Authorities should disclose if COVID-19 in community

I couldn’t agree more with the opinion in your Friday, March 20 editorial. For a number of weeks I’d been wondering when we would have a case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island or in our community.

I have heard from a neighbour that there is apparently one case in Duncan and another in Chemainus. However, I didn’t get this information officially from our health authorities, specifically in one of the daily updates from Dr. Henry, the chief medical health officer of B.C. All we get from officialdom is that there are cases on the Island under the responsibility of Island Health. All that does is tell us that the cases are somewhere on the bottom half of the Island.

I totally agree with your opinion that the public has a right to know if there are COVID-19 cases in our community. All too often governments tell us they can’t give us information due to privacy laws. If we are told that there is a case in our community, whose privacy is being disrespected? There seems to be a double standard here since it has been announced on numerous occasions that at least seven deaths from the virus have been at the same seniors’ care home in North Vancouver. And the name of the care home was specifically mentioned. One can’t get much more precise than that. So what happened about protecting people’s privacy in these cases?

Obviously, if we are aware that there are no COVID-19 cases in our community we might be less worried about community spread of the disease. Once we know the virus is among us though, we can be much more careful about how we live our life in our community.

I completely agree with your editorial that our Ministry of Health needs to be a great deal more forthcoming with the public when it comes to this dangerous pandemic that we find ourselves in. As an octogenarian I find this situation very much akin to listening to the radio in the 1940s to get the latest war news. This time however, it’s a war of a different kind that we’re fighting.

Ian McFarland



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