Courtenay doctor confirms Comox Valley’s first case of COVID-19

Dr. Tanja Daws says there is one confirmed local case

Dr. Tanja Daws has told the Comox Valley Record that there is a positively identified case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Comox Valley.

”It hasn’t been confirmed on the wire or the news cycle yet, but it will be confirmed [soon],” she said, adding she expects the case will be reflected in Monday’s update. “What they will do is they will give increased numbers for Vancouver Island but they will not give location.”

The next provincial COVID-19 update with Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday.

At Saturday’s update, Henry said there remains only one confirmed case on Vancouver Island.

RELATED: Nine new COVID-19 cases announced Saturday, bringing B.C. total to 73

“They may not be happy with me saying it’s in the Comox Valley, but we live in a community of 100,000 people… I do think by me saying the Comox Valley it would still be anonymous enough. But there are more confirmed cases on Vancouver Island, since what they [announced].”

Daws could not identify exactly where in the Comox Valley the confirmed case is, but did say the case did not come from her office. (She practices out of the Courtenay Medical Clinic at 788 Grant Avenue.)

“I actually don’t even know [which municipality]. All I know is that one person has been confirmed for the Valley.”

Daws posted an impassioned plea onto her Facebook page Sunday, which spread rapidly on social media.

Daws said she chose to post that, after seeing how nonchalant the community appears to be about the disease.

“I think as community members we are not doing great,” she said. “I was out on Saturday, to do some home visits on patients, to make sure they are safe and informed. And people are in the shops, at the movies, in the restaurants, and they are shopping like crazy. They are not isolating at home.

“We have to close… all non-essential businesses. How many people have to get sick before we do it? The point is trying to prevent rapid spread, and not just containment. People have to do the right things now, to slow this infection down, so that we can contain, and help those who get sick.”

Daws said anyone who has symptoms should phone 8-1-1 and follow the directions given over the phone. She urges people not to call on medical clinics and doctors’ offices in person. Patients are welcome to make a telephone call for advice.

“All doctors’ offices will probably switch to teleconferencing over the next week or so, to help people online. We are all investigating avenues for teleconferencing with patients. We really want to keep our offices COVID free so we can consult our other patients without [worry of] contamination.”

The Comox Valley Record has reached out to both the Ministry of Health and Island Health for comment.

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