156606
Dan-in-Ottawa

Should you have the right to know if COVID-19 is in your town?

Current state of COVID-19

Although the House of Commons is not sitting this week, the prime minister announced that he is assembling a “COVID-19” cabinet committee to help co-ordinate the response of the federal government to this emerging health threat.

If you are unaware, “COVID-19” is the official name that the World Health Organization (WHO) has used to define the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has also been declared as a public health emergency.

Here in Canada, there have been 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 20 in Ontario, 12 in British Columbia, and one in Quebec. 

South of the border, in Washington State, there have been 28 confirmed cases and nine deaths reported as a result of the COVID-19 virus at the time of writing my weekly report. 

New cases are also being reported in other states, including California and New York.

To date the virus has infected close to 90,000 people in 60 countries and killed more than 3,000 people, the majority in China. 

Our Canadian Chief Public Health Officer has acknowledged that Canada may not be able to contain and limit the virus if it continues to spread around the world. 

There is also a government general information line at 1-833-784-4397 for Canadians who have any immediate questions about COVID-19.

In response to the economic impact from the virus outbreak, the Bank of Canada announced it is cutting the key interest rate by half a percentage point, lowering it to 1.25%.

Last week federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu warned people should consider stockpiling enough food and medicine in case of a potential outbreak of the COVID-19.

Many criticized this warning, suggesting it was unnecessary given the low chance of infection here in Canada.

The public health officer has also stated that governments, businesses and individuals should prepare for an outbreak or pandemic.  

As a result, provincial health officials are actively monitoring for COVID-19 cases in communities across Canada.

Our public health officer has also asked that travellers arriving from Iran to self-isolate for two weeks to help prevent potential infections.  

In turn, Global Affairs Canada is currently advising citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iran, Northern Italy, and to exercise a high degree of caution if travelling to Japan.

Locally, the Interior Health Authority has confirmed one case of COVID-19 has occurred somewhere within the Interior Health region but refuses to reveal the area where that case has been confirmed.

On this point, I have heard some concerns expressed from the public that it should be possible to reveal the location of the community in question without releasing the name of the patient.

My question this week: 

Do you feel that you have the right to know if a COVID-19 infection has been confirmed within your community?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.



More Dan in Ottawa articles

153558
About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.



154430
The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories



157117