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Vancouver Island doctor wants locations of COVID-19 patients made public
CAMPBELL RIVER -- B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Bonnie Henry continue to stand side-by-side to give daily updates on the growing COVID-19 situation, but at least two health professionals on the mid-island are calling for more transparency.
A Courtenay physician, Dr. Tanja Daws, posted information on her Facebook account over the weekend to provide her facts on the quickly spreading virus and to dispel some commonly held myths.
She also confirmed that the Comox Valley had at least one person who has tested positive for COVID-19, something that hasn't been divulged on official channels.
As of Monday, the B.C. government said that there were eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Island Health region but did not specify where.
The provincial government has said that it does not divulge precise locations of positive tests due to concerns over patient confidentiality. Additionally, the Health Ministry says that people who are self-isolating are no longer a danger to their communities so their locations are not important.
But Daws believes if members of the public know the virus is in their community they will take the matter more seriously.
"The evidence we have from Italy, Korea and China is that people should self-isolate and every day we wait, there's a 40 per cent higher rate of people who get the virus," Daws said.
Daws believes that if more people know the virus is active in their community, they will do more social distancing – something people may not yet be doing because they don't think their community is affected.
That's a sentiment echoed by a Campbell River Hospital worker who reached out to CTV News, frustrated that locations are not being given out.
The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job, says there was a positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Thursday in Campbell River. However, the patient's doctor and hospital staff were told not to talk about it.
"He was shut down and was told he's not allowed to speak of these things and everyone who was involved in that case was also told that their jobs could be at stake if they were informing the public that we now have the coronavirus here in town," the source said.
The hospital worker says confirmation came through a staff meeting at the Campbell River Hospital Monday morning, where staff were told that there were many cases on the North Island but that those involved were all self-isolating.