Washing your hands frequently and staying home when you’re feeling ill are far more effective than facemasks in controlling the spread of a virus.

EDITORIAL: Fraser Health needs to be transparent to fight coronavirus panic

Fraser Health and other authorities are not helping by being vague in recent communications

Fraser Health last week sent letters to multiple school districts about the new coronavirus last week.

A new patient had some kind of contact with people connected to a local school district.

That was it. Because Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and the Tri-Cities were the first areas to release their letters to parents, it was assumed that the patient had some contacts there. But in fact, identical letters went to Langley and other districts as well.

Fraser Health has done this, most likely, to avoid localized panic, but their policy has had the opposite effect.

Right now there are Facebook posts claiming to identify specific schools in Maple Ridge were exposed to COVID-19, that families are in quarantine, that seniors homes could have been exposed.

Truth? Wild rumour? Some mixture of the two? We have no idea, and Fraser Health and B.C.’s Medical Health Officer are not making things better by being vague.

Right now, the risk to any one individual or family from COVID-19 is low. The vast majority of people recover without any need to even go to a hospital. There is no sign yet that the virus is spreading widely in B.C.

But B.C. authorities are not helping by holding back information that could help people make rational choices. If there are no cases in a city or school district, say so. And if there are possible exposures in another city or school, say that.

By refusing to provide specific information, the health authorities have ceded the ground to rumour.

The folks who were going to panic and stockpile dried beans and gas masks? They were always going to do that no matter what anyone said.

The rest of us would feel better if we were treated like reasonable adults who can make our own decisions given accurate information.

– M.C.

CoronavirusFraser HealthHealthLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

Fabrication work for Vedder Bridge roundabout art project is well underway

Funds of $255K held in reserve from new bridge budget do not represent a new cost for artwork

Chilliwack school trustees using Zoom to conduct meetings during pandemic

Public participation not available, but staff taking public questions before and after meetings

A little snow and hail for Chilliwack but no record broken

It was the second snowiest April day in Chilliwack on record Friday

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read