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Posted: January 30, 2021

It is essential to offer hope, not fear

Letter to the Editor

This letter was initially sent to the Chief of staff at the Elk Valley Hospital; Elk Valley Physicians on Jan. 25.

As citizens of the Elk Valley, we are concerned with the sensationalism caused by the recent comments, re: “Covid infection rates” as reported in local and national media, including Global News.

A search of official B.C. COVID-19 statistics by Health Authority as at 12 p.m. Monday, January 25, shows 37 hospitalized COVID-19 cases, nine of which are in ICU – for the Interior Health zone, with a population of approximately one million people. This is not consistent with the comments and assertion that Fernie is “as bad as anywhere else in the world right now.”

These statements have led directly to negative media attention, and alarmism in our community.  Moreover, the statement relating to the case positivity rate for Fernie is misleading and inaccurate, as confirmed on January 21/2021 by the B.C. Interior Health Authority. We would like to thank the Fernie Free Press for printing the correction.

There are many concerned residents who feel the information we’re given via official channels and medical practitioners is vague at best and lacks context and detail. We feel that medical and government officials leave out relevant statistics that need to be considered.  It is essential to offer hope, not fear, (mental health is dependent on it), and clarity as opposed to confusion. Focusing exclusively on case counts can cause people to be more fearful and divides the community.

The Ontario Deputy Medical Officer, Dr. Barbara Yaffe publicly stated that 50% of positive tests can be false positive. The most recent update from the WHO also confirms the PCR tests, using high amplification cycles are very questionable in producing accurate results regarding positive cases.

There are other health emergencies that are equally as serious such as drug abuse, domestic violence, suicide, alcoholism, delayed diagnostics, etc.

Some important questions are:

What is the number of COVID-19 cases broken down by community, (Elkford, Sparwood, Fernie, South Country, Elko, Cranbrook, Kimberley)?

For COVID-19 PCR testing in our community, how many cycles were run?

What is the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU cases, broken down by community?

What is the COVID-19 cases by community broken down by age group?

What is the number of COVID-19 deaths by community with and without comorbidities?

What is the number and source of COVID-19 outbreak?  – including long term care, general community outbreak, business and retail, restaurant and hospitality?

How are we to determine whether Fernie is “as bad as anywhere else in the world right now,” if we don’t have complete transparency? Without clarification of the above-stated statistics, it is impossible to justify the impact on small businesses, and on the individual freedoms of our citizens.

This letter is also being sent to: The City of Fernie, Fernie Chamber of Commerce, Interior Health, e-KNOW (letter to the editor), The Fernie Free Press (letter to the editor), Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Zuzana Simpson,

Dave Brunker,

Anita Brunker,

Edward Kallio,

Chantalle Alessio,

Faye Neufeld,

Duane Neufeld,

Nate Camilli,

Lance Filimek,

Darren Hatina,

Robert Champagne,

Suzanne Champagne,

Michelle Thorlakson,

Stephanie Nault,

Cianna Thiessen,

Jessie Bilenski,

John Zwolak,

Marsha Churchill,

Kurtis Ellis,

Garyk Simpson,

Colin Champagne,

Hannah McMeikin,

Nicole Knauf,

Mark Hall,

Ross Searle,

Siobhan Searle,

Dave Bergeron,

Lauren Taillefer,

Willard Ripley,

Susan J. Ripley,

Fernie/Elk Valley

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