Should Niagara, Ontario’s Health Authorities be More Forthcoming with Information About COVID-19 Deaths?

Here is One Retired Nurse in Niagara Who Says ‘Yes’

A Comment by Linda McKellar, a retired emergency care nurse and resident of the Town of Fort Erie in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Numbers of deaths due to COVID-19 and related information, such as age and general location in the Niagara region should be made public. That does not intrude on anyone’s grief or privacy. but gives vital information that people should know.

Names need not be given except by family request. In fact, some families may want the information known, both to give their loved ones respect and to make us aware that there are faces and real people behind the impersonal numbers we see.

Every number represents a REAL human: a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, a child, a friend or other loved one.

Some media networks are showing the obituaries of some of those lost to illustrate how loved, unique, vital and valuable they were. To me, that is both respectful and a warning to others to realize this is serious.

Too many people think this is happening somewhere else or are cavalier enough to assume it will never affect them.

That makes them less likely to take precautions and realize the significance of this disease. I still see far too many people flaunting the rules, thinking this is some kind of exaggerated dramatization.

One artist’s rendition of the Great Plague of the 17th Century and how it ravaged one village in England, Eyam, in 1665.

It is not. This is not a unique experience in history.

Plagues have happened before and will happen again. One example was a village called Eyam in northern England, which isolated itself during the plague in 1665 and, while many villagers died, their act of courage and sacrifice saved those in surrounding towns.

Even then, in the 17th century, they knew that it was a community responsibility to protect not only themselves, but also their neighbours.

Providing facts to the public is far better than sweeping things under the carpet, and even if it takes scaring some people to smarten up, maybe they need to get a good dose of fear.

We are not children and we deserve to know what is going on so we can deal with it both emotionally and by acting responsibly.

Cover-ups, secretiveness and gossip are frightening.

Facts are reassuring and let us know what needs to be done. From what I’ve seen, more and more people are acting responsibly.

Linda McKellar is a Niagara, Ontario resident and a retired emergency care nurse in Niagara’s hospital system. An  avid follower of public affairs, she has frequently shares here views on Niagara At Large.

This Comment was originally shared with Niagara At Large as a response to the following post on the NAL site –

CBC recently posted a report that Niagara’s Public Health authorities have been less than forthcoming about COVID-19 deaths in the Niagara Region – so much so that Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has stated that Niagara should be more transparent about cases of death due to the virus.

To read that CBC report, click on –

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