An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THERE CONTINUES TO BE a double standard in the release of information where COVID-19 cases are being found in B.C.
Provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says four or five employees of a fast-food restaurant have tested positive for the virus but she won’t tell us where.
“I’m not going to say the name of the restaurant because it’s a small one,” she said during a briefing this week.
Size shouldn’t matter. She says customers weren’t exposed so we’ll live with that one but it points to a possible resolution to the information impasse.
Henry has been tight-lipped from the beginning about where COVID-19 cases are showing up except to give totals for the various health regions.
Her initial excuse was privacy, and a supposed need to stop people from either panicking or becoming complacent. None of that cuts it, especially because her policy has been so inconsistent.
A couple of weeks ago, Henry released a little more in the way of suspected origins and locations but that seems to have been a one-time deal.
She has no hesitation in naming long-term care facilities or farm properties that have had outbreaks. No privacy there.
Cases at a Kamloops super market, the ANAVETS club, a curling bonspiel and the Sun Peaks medical centre were made public in spite of her no-tell policy, and rightly so. The media, the IHA and, in some cases, individuals gave us information she wouldn’t.
All of them were in places where the public might have been exposed to the virus.
That would be a good guideline for Henry to follow. Let people maintain privacy in their own homes but when it’s in public venues she should tell us.
When people are fully informed, they can take precautions. Henry says the drive-thru restaurant case is a “wake-up call.”
It would be a lot easier to heed that call if she’d trust us.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.