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

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

Nanaimo RCMP want to speak with two people who might have spoken with the driver of a vehicle before it hit a pedestrian at the 7-Eleven store at University Village Mall Feb. 3. (Photos submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP ask for help with Harewood hit-and-run investigation

Police release photos of people of interest who spoke to the suspect driver just prior to incident

(News Bulletin file)
Wellington, Ladysmith secondary schools latest with COVID-19 cases

NDSS and Bayview Elementary also experienced exposures, says SD68

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ business committee is recommending busing for the Rutherford and Frank J. Ney elementary school area be retained. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo school trustees vote against cutting Rutherford-Frank J. Ney bus route

Staff report points to yearly transportation budget deficits

Nanaimo RCMP seek help in locating Shannon Lettington, 35. (Submitted photo)
Nanaimo RCMP searching for missing 35-year-old woman

Shannon Lettington, of Nanaimo, has not contacted her family since October

This month Christy Blom’s Springtime show is on display at Art 10 Gallery. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo painter welcomes spring with watercolour exhibition

Christy Blom presents month-long ‘Springtime’ show at Art 10 Gallery

A rendering of Front Street transportation improvements set to get underway as soon as next week. (McElhanney image/City of Nanaimo)
Work set to start on Front Street cycle track in downtown Nanaimo

Road work and street reconfiguration project scheduled to start in March, finish in May

Beef to the plow driver who completely soaked me in dirty slush at the bus stop at Fifth and Hillcrest. I could tell you were driving quite fast so I tried to back up as far as the snowbank would allow but you did not slow down. I am 68 and had to pick up a prescription and had no choice but to continue on soaking wet.
Beefs & Bouquets, March 3

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

Most Read