/Right to privacy 

Right to privacy 

By Chad Ingram

Haliburton County went several weeks without any new confirmed cases of
the coronavirus, in the past week, there have been three new confirmed
cases of COVID-19 in the county.
This makes sense, given that the
county entered Stage 3 of the province’s phased recovery process on July
17. More people are venturing into more places. That said, the county’s
numbers remain relatively low, with 13 confirmed cases total, 12 of
which are now considered resolved. The latest active confirmed case has
in addition to it, as of press time, one probable case, and five
high-risk contacts.
Throughout the pandemic, each time there have
been cases confirmed locally, there are calls to release specific
locations, or even names.
Health units count cases by residents’
permanent addresses, and within the HKPR health unit’s jurisdiction,
cases are disclosed by location, in terms of whether residents live in
the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County or the County of
Haliburton. The disclosed location does not get more specific than that
(with the exception of long-term care homes), and certainly, in the
context of Haliburton County, there are people who’d like to know
whether an infected person lives in Minden or Haliburton Village or
Eagle Lake, etc. Taking it even further, there have been calls from
residents for the health unit to publicly disclose names.
important to remember that in this country, we all enjoy a legal,
reasonable right to privacy under its privacy laws. Information that is
of a public health concern is shared between agencies under this
legislation, and disclosure of information comes down to a legal
weighing of public benefit versus an individual’s right to privacy.
who’ve contracted COVID-19 are not pariahs. They are not wanted by
police. They have a right to privacy. Having contracted the virus is
part of their private medical records. How many of us would want our
private health information, COVID-19 related or not, publicly disclosed?
There is no need for anyone to know the identity of these
individuals. Why would there be? So they can be treated as biblical era
lepers? So a scarlet C can be painted on their doors? Anyone who’s been
diagnosed with COVID-19 is legally obligated to self-isolate for two
weeks, and can be fined or even jailed if health units discover they’ve
violated that order. After that period, statistically, most patients
will be considered recovered from the virus.
We know COVID-19 is in
the county, we may not know precisely where, but we know it’s here. It’s
in our community. It was true at the beginning of the pandemic, and
it’s true now, that the safest thing for all of us to do is assume we
could have it, assume that anyone we come into contact with could have
it, and act accordingly.
Stay two metres from one another, wear a mask in public indoor spaces, and wash your hands.