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

Polls close at 8 p.m. in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
VIDEO: Esquimalt-Metchosin candidates reflect on campaign as polls close

An estimated 12,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding

Barb Wright and Cynthia Vance at the District Electoral Office for the Langford-Juan de Fuca (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Polls now closed in Langford-Juan de Fuca

An estimated 12,120 mail-in ballots were requested in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding

Drive up voting is popular with Victoria-Swan Lake voters at the Craigflower elementary polling station. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Drive up voting popular at Craigflower polling station in Victoria-Swan Lake

Nearly 13,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Victoria-Swan Lake riding

Oak Bay High voting station was slow and steady for the provincial election day, Oct. 24, 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Early voting reduces election day turnout in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

An estimated 15,918 mail-in ballots requested in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

This was the line-up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The short-up line speaks to the high number of votes, which have already been cast against the backdrop of COVID-19 by mail or in advanced voting. Voters, however, unanimously praised the safety measures in place, as well the convenience of the polling stations. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
‘Slow’ turnout at polls across Saanich North and the Islands

Peter Mason, district electoral officer, expects about 10,000 ballots to be cast

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Most Read