Residents of Prince Rupert are voicing concerns on Facebook and asking questions of Northern Health after Loblaw, the parent company of the local Shoppers Drug Mart recently revealed that a local employee tested positive for COVID-19.
“Team member tested positive on a presumptive test for COVID-19,” reads the Loblaw release, which also confirmed cases at company stores in Kamloops, Pitt Meadows and Surrey. “The last day the team member worked was on October 17.”
The news caused lots of concern among Prince Rupert residents. “I called Shoppers and spoke to one of the managers regarding the situation,” someone wrote on the Northern Health Facebook page for Prince Rupert. “The person I spoke with said the worker apparently worked in the back, not the front. So there was limited exposure…It could be nothing but it could be something.”
Some people wondered why the news came from Loblaw and not the local health authority. “[Northern Health] should be informing each town to control the spread. No information is a dangerous thing for the public of small towns,” one person wrote.
Northern Health responded yesterday that it’s “not able to comment on specific communities or individuals that have/are confirmed cases, for privacy reasons. Only tested individuals and their care providers (circle of care) are informed of test results.”
The authority releases specific information if there is danger of a “a potential public exposure or an outbreak, or a case related to a school.” It added, “Regardless of where cases are, people should be practicing the public health guidance and advice for preventing spread of the virus.”
Some community members are saying that people should need not wait until cases are announced before they start to take precautions. “If we are only going to start changing our behaviour only if we know there is a case here, then it’s too late,” someone wrote on Monday. “Act like it’s here already. We should be doing this to keep the elders safe.”