Regional emergency operations centre (EOC) is urging Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the government of BC to provide daily updates regarding the total number of cases in the qathet region to provide effective and trusted local emergency management.
According to a media release from the EOC, lack of information regarding COVID-19 case numbers has resulted in increased anxiety, stress and fear throughout the local communities.
“Daily community updates from the province and VCH reflecting current local case numbers are important for the health and safety of our residents for the remainder of this unprecedented pandemic,” the release stated. “Sharing this information enables our EOC to plan effectively and to meet the needs of our residents to make educated decisions for themselves and their families.”
The release stated that the approach by VCH to date has been to provide public notification only when there has been an identified public exposure or when those affected cannot be contacted directly. When a COVID-19 case is identified, contact-tracing personnel work closely with the infected individual to follow-up with anyone who might be at risk and to help prevent further spread of the virus.
“While we agree with not commenting on individual cases for obvious reasons of confidentiality, we see no justification for withholding daily updates on the number of cases within our region,” the release stated.
The release further stated the EOC appreciates Vancouver Coastal Health’s Community Update, released September 15, updating the current number of COVID-19 cases in the qathet region. In the update, VCH has stated that all of the COVID-19 cases in the region are associated with known exposure events or contact with other cases, according to the release.
“The information supplied has already had a calming effect on our residents,” the release stated. “All residents and visitors should assume there are cases of COVID-19 in our communities. This means following all orders and guidelines set out by VCH and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Help limit the spread of the virus by washing your hands, physically distancing, wearing a mask where physical distancing is not possible, and staying home if you are sick.”
Anyone experiencing symptoms should get tested. Testing is available by people contacting their local physician, through drive through testing, or through the Powell River General Hospital emergency department.