Smithers Interior News Editorial

Smithers Interior News Editorial

Lack of transparency unacceptable

With accelerating transmission and new restrictions it is time for B.C. to report local numbers

Even before the numbers of total coronavirus cases in the Smithers Local Health Area (LHA) doubled in one month.

Even before the province started setting records for infections on almost a daily basis.

Even before federal epidemic modelling indicated Canada could start seeing 20,000 to 60,000 cases a day by the end of December depending on the behaviour of citizens.

Even before all that, it was unconscionable the government of B.C. refused to disclose the numbers for individual communities.

Nevertheless, it was easy enough to let that go as long as the risk was very low, which it remained for the Northwest from February through September.

Not any longer.

With the latest announcement of new restrictions including mandatory masks, a ban on private gatherings, a shutdown of gym classes and religious gatherings, and more, it is unacceptable that the public is not being informed where the cases are.

And the reasons behind the lack of transparency, privacy and reporting issues, are easily dismissed.

We are not asking for names and addresses of victims, merely cold, hard statistics.

As for reporting, provincial numbers are updated daily, or nearly daily, which means the LHAs are reporting, which means the B.C. Centre for Disease Control must know where the cases are coming from.

Dr. Bonnie Henry — for whom we have the utmost respect, having been doing the toughest job in the province for more than eight months amid abuse and even death threats — has always said people should assume the virus is everywhere and take the necessary precautions.

We wish we shared Dr. Henry’s faith in humanity, but we don’t.

What we do know is transmission has been accelerating in the Northern Health region in November. We can only assume that is being mirrored in the LHAs, but we won’t know the local reality of it until almost the middle of December.

Ultimately, it is the elected officials who must take responsibility for the lack of transparency. It is time to put the pressure on them to do the right thing.

People have a right to know what is going on in their own backyard.