Richmond COVID-19 numbers withheld

Richmond's medical health officer said test-positive numbers are an underestimate of illness in the community.

Releasing the number of people in Richmond who have tested positive for COVID-19 would give people “false assurance” about the current pandemic, according to Richmond’s medical health officer Meena Dawar.

The number of cases that have tested positive is lower than the actual number of people who have coronavirus in Richmond, she explained, and reporting the test-positive numbers would be “meaningless.”

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“The numbers (of test-positive cases) are an underestimate of the numbers ill in the community,” she told the Richmond News on Thursday.

Just two weeks ago, Dawar gave council an update on the COVID-19 outbreak, saying there were 10 cases in Richmond.

Coun. Chak Au told the Richmond News it’s frustrating Vancouver Coastal Health is no longer giving updates on the Richmond numbers.

This is especially frustrating if these people have been in a public place, he said, adding Richmondites have the right to know to better protect themselves.

A small cluster of COVID-19 cases at Austin Harris Residence in Steveston has been found. A letter to residents and their families at the assisted-living facility in Steveston states there is a “small number of residents” with COVID-19.

Dawar said they're no longer reporting local numbers, because testing has changed “dramatically.”

Currently, testing is being done on people with the most severe symptoms, people in residential care and health-care workers with moderate symptoms.

The health authority is advising people to use the self-assessment tool on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

The self-assessment tool can be found at www.bccdc.ca.

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