EDITORIAL: Communities have a right to know when COVID-19 arrives locally

This week, the Comox Valley Record published two articles regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) arriving in our community.

Courtenay doctor confirms arrival of COVID-19 to the Comox Valley

Comox Valley school exposed to COVID-19

We did so because we believe getting as much information out to everyone as quickly and accurately as possible is the responsible thing to do.

It’s a shame Island Health does not share our attitude.

On March 15, Island Health sent out an advisory to the Comox Valley Waldorf School community, stating that a member of the school had tested positive for COVID 19.

But Island Health made the decision not to send that same statement – or any statement regarding local positive tests – to the mainstream media.

That’s exactly how rumours start.

When only certain factions have the correct information, and other people have none, the version of the story becomes twisted, almost immediately.

We heard everything from “one student” to “one staff member” to “the majority of the school” being infected, all because Island Health chose to only supply some of the information to some of the people.

We continue to get rumours, via email, phone and text, every day. Island Health continues to pass the buck, referring all questions to the ministry.

Announcing that there are seven cases on Vancouver Island is not good enough. People in every community have the right to know where the infection has infiltrated, and how serious the infection is in their community.

People are demanding information, and they deserve it.

If Island Health, or the ministry, thinks people aren’t taking this pandemic seriously enough, they are correct. There is a certain underlying attitude, in any situation, that “it won’t affect me.”

Those attitudes changed overnight in the Comox Valley, when Dr. Tanja Daws went public, alerting our community that the disease has arrived here. Within 24 hours, the streets had emptied and people started staying home – which is exactly the message the authorities are trying to get across.

We reached out to both Island Health and the Ministry of Health for comments on Dr. Daws’s statement.

Island Health deferred to the ministry.

The ministry did not reply.

If they want people to take this seriously, it’s time they start being more forthcoming with their announcements of where the infection has spread.

We know it’s in B.C. We know it’s on Vancouver Island. But until the authorities tell us where, people will carry on with their lives thinking, at least for the meantime, they are safe.

Others will circulate rumours and innuendo.

The Comox Valley Record will continue to work with local health professionals to get as much correct information out to the public as possible.

We welcome Island Health to help us in that regard.

CoronavirusEditorials

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tenessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
UPDATED: Victoria police arrest high-risk parolee with history of bank robbery

Citizen alerts cops after spotting parolee on Pandora Avenue

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest suspect in Saanich liquor store break and enters

Windowpane removal key component in string of thefts

Nicole Abbott and her 10-month-old daughter, Ophelia, shown here at the Metchosin Fire Hall for the Halloween events last year. Residents are invited to a drive-through version this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore fire halls take pandemic-safe approach to Halloween

One spooky lane among three drive-thru features by firefighters

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has expressed concerns about the excessive freighters parked in the Salish Sea for quite some time. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

A view from the deck of a home in SookePoint. The property is a prize in the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery. Tickets are on sale now. (Contributed photo)
Millionaire Lottery home up for grabs in Sooke

Sooke prize home part of latest VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery

Most Read