Dear Editor,

The headline “Pipeline worker tests positive for COVID” on the front page of your December 3rd, 2020 newspaper caught my attention. I was left with more questions than answers.
You first state that “Trans Mountain confirmed a Valemount worker tested positive for COVID-19 last week.” Then you state that a worker (is it the same worker?) had been in contact with someone who tested positive prior to coming to the camp. This is rather ambiguous.
It sounds to me like this worker is not the one who tested positive, but was merely in contact with someone else who tested positive. The article does not mention if either of these two people are ill.
Is it correct to assume now that when a person has been in contact with someone who tested positive previously, then that person is counted as a positive case as well? Perhaps the recent rise in Covid case numbers and positive test numbers are due to this type of counting. I wonder if those sign-in sheets in public buildings and businesses could lead to any one of us being counted as a “test positive,” even if we were never tested.

Monika Schaefer
McBride, BC


Editor’s response:

Hi Monika,

Thanks for your inquiry and we apologize if our story wasn’t clear. Here’s what we know: after two days of being in the Valemount camp, a worker was alerted that someone he’d been in contact with had tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, he (the same camp worker) was tested. His test results showed he too was positive for COVID-19.
Leaving your name at a local business won’t cause you to be counted as COVID-19 positive; what it can do is help with contact tracing if another customer (whom you may have had contact with) tested positive. People who are in isolation due to being in contact with COVID-10 positive people (but who don’t have their test results back) are reported out separately by the BC government and other jurisdictions. The Province refers to these people as being under “active public health monitoring.” Here’s what the government said on Friday: “10,957 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.”
If residents believe they may have contracted COVID-19, they can arrange for a test at the Valemount Health Clinic or the McBride Hospital.

Andru McCracken,