Interior Health stands by decision to not state patient locations

The risk is everywhere

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in B.C. continues to increase, everyone is wondering where those patients are located.

But provincial health authorities say they want the public to feel safe contacting them, by knowing their privacy will be protected.

On Thursday, 40 new positive cases were confirmed across B.C., bringing the total in the province to 271. Twelve of those are in the Interior Health region.

Rumours of cases across the Okanagan continue to swirl – and authorities say it's important to assume the virus is everywhere.

In that regard, Interior Health responded in an email:

"Rumours are circulating in every community about who may or may not have COVID-19. Interior Health and the province have been and will continue to provide information about confirmed cases. Every time there is a positive test in B.C., public health connects with anyone who may have come into contact with the case so they are aware and can be monitored for symptoms.

"Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has explained that she will not be identifying the specific location of confirmed cases unless public health providers cannot be certain they have reached all those who need to be contacted and who, therefore, might be a risk to the public. 

"We want people who have symptoms to contact us, and to feel safe contacting us, knowing their privacy will be protected so the steps to protect the health and safety for all can be taken. This is why privacy is important to everyone. It allows public health providers to do the work they need to do to keep everybody safe."

Henry explained her reasoning for not identifying locations of cases on Wednesday.

"It's a very challenging thing –  it's partly privacy, but partly because we need everyone to be aware the risk is not just in one place, it's in your community, too," she said during the daily provincial update Wednesday. "We need people to know the risk is in every place. It's not just them and over there. It's in your community, too, and you need to be taking these measures now, everywhere.

"It doesn't serve anyone to think that it won't affect me and my community. The precautions we are putting out are for everybody in every community across British Columbia right now, so that we can stop the transmission everywhere."

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