EDITORIAL – COVID-19 outbreak at RIH site good reason not to relax

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK at Royal Inland Hospital’s patient care tower construction project should have us thinking twice about loosening up restrictions.

One line of reasoning is that restrictions should be put on those communities with the highest number of outbreaks, and leave the rest alone.

Under this rationale, for example, bars, weddings and other social gatherings should be shut down in Chilliwack but allowed in Kamloops. The Fraser Valley, after all, is experiencing unprecedented growth in numbers of cases, while the Interior, not as much.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has indeed imposed new restrictions on the Fraser Health Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority on travel, indoor group exercise and workplace safety.

These measures will, no doubt, prolong the social and economic pain in those areas.

So, what about us? Other than the RIH case and some outbreaks in the Okanagan, we in the Interior are doing just fine, aren’t we? Why not relax restrictions here and increase them where it really matters, such as the Fraser Valley? Why should we continue having to wear masks and put up with all that Plexiglas? Why shouldn’t we be able to go to a bar for a drink, or hold a wedding or funeral?

Well, cases per hundred of population are up in the Interior.

Interior Health is experiencing the third highest number of new cases in the province, behind Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal. Kamloops is a two-and-a-half-hour drive up the Coquihalla from Chilliwack, a short commute for COVID-19.

Dr. Henry is trying to thread the needle, keeping restrictions in some areas and tightening them in others, so she is taking regional differences into account. If anything, she relies too much on good faith and “expectations.”

This is not the time to ease up on the gas pedal, and the situation at RIH is a powerful reminder of that.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9052 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – COVID-19 outbreak at RIH site good reason not to relax

  1. Ian MacKenzie // November 10, 2020 at 11:06 AM // Reply

    Agreed Mel. To all the young bucks who didn’t go through the restraints of WWII and can’t imagine that the world wasn’t designed just for them, get with the program even though you may not agree with every decision Bonnie makes. Your life may depend on your behavior and for sure my life does, even if there’s not much left of it.

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