After feeling frustrated over lack of information from the province, a White Rock father has created COVID Reported, a crowd-sourced initiative to help share information about exactly where possible exposures could be in B.C.
“Quite frankly, what we’ve created is something that our government should have created,” said Bernard Trest, who designed the map that shows any possible COVID exposures in the province — even if health officials haven’t announced them.
The map includes the recent discovery of two confirmed cases in employees who work at the Mayfair Shopping Centre.
“The BCCDC refuses to release any of this data and we thought it was about time, considering December was the deadliest month in B.C.,” said Trest.
He and his son Max came up with the idea to take matters into their own hands and create the hub that directly shows where cases of COVID-19 have been found, based on information they’ve verified themselves.
“There’s too little information out right now and we want to protect the public,” said Max.
They get their info from the public, getting messages and tips. The Duo asks for details to try and verify the validity of the tip.
“We will try and verify as much information as possible, it will be a judgment call on our part. We don’t release any personal information, but we do ask for details to try and verify. If it’s just hearsay, and only hearsay, we won’t post it,” said the White Rock dad.
Right now, Island Health shares information on whether cases are found in the North, Central or Southern regions but nothing more than that, and some Victorians want more details.
“They should so you can pinpoint and avoid those areas when you can,” said Norman Polton, a Victoria resident.
Lisa Mitchell, who also lives in Victoria, says people need to know where people are testing positive.
“People needs a heads up, specifically where there has been an outbreak so that people can make their own informed decisions,” said Mitchell.
Dr. Bonnie Henry has previously said the specific details of where cases are found are not needed to stop the spread.
Island Health says on their website that “a close contact exposure means face-to-face contact for an extended period of time with a person who is infectious.”
This means, most shopping encounters between shoppers or staff wouldn’t be considered a close-contact exposure.
Even though B.C.’s top doctor says the risk of transmission is low-risk in stores, Trest and his son have viral-induced asthma and say they need to know if their grocery store is safe to enter.
“You’re dealing with a deadly virus where you could either deal with lifelong health complications or die, and I think getting this information out there to protect against that is more important than privacy. Someone’s life trumps privacy,” said Trest.
He hopes this spread of information on COVID Reported will stop the spread of COVID-19.