Nfld. & Labrador

Stop speculating about COVID-19 patients: Labrador MHA

There are three presumptive cases in the Labrador-Grenfell Health region, but one local MHA is urging people to stop the rumour mill.

Trimper, Evans praise non-political response and partnership

Liberal MHA Perry Trimper says people need to stop speculating on the identities of the patients who are presumed positive. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's three presumptive cases of COVID-19 are somewhere in the Labrador-Grenfell Health region, but one local MHA is urging people to stop fuelling the rumour mill.

Perry Trimper, the elected member for Lake Melville in central Labrador, said people need to respect the privacy of the patients and not spread speculation about their identity or exact location.

All that official sources would say about the first presumed case is the patient is a woman, either on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland or in Labrador, and that she returned from a Caribbean cruise. On Tuesday afternoon, the provincial government announced two more cases.

Trimper said his request extends to anyone who might test positive in the future.

"We need to respect the privacy of these individuals," he told Labrador Morning.

No matter where the virus is, Trimper said, it shouldn't change the way people behave.

"We should assume that this is in our community," he said. "I would even challenge ourselves to say that maybe we have it and what steps would I take to ensure that no one else catches this?"

Other provinces have given slightly more information on patients than Newfoundland and Labrador. Nova Scotia, for example, gave the approximate ages of three patients, their home regions and the dates they arrived in Canada.

Political foes working in step

Trimper said he has been speaking daily with fellow MHA Lela Evans, who represents the Torngat region.

While Trimper is a Liberal and Evans is a Progressive Conservative, those political banners have been cast aside.

Both appeared together on Labrador Morning on Tuesday to speak about efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"We have a chance in this region of Labrador to really treat it like an isolated island and we need to shut things down," Trimper said.

Lela Evans says she's happy with the government response to help the people of Labrador prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Evans, who has never been shy about criticizing the government, applauded the provincial and federal governments for their work.

She also called on people in their communities to work together.

"We need to start acting as a community and start looking out for our most vulnerable," she said. "Like Perry said, treat yourself as if you may have the virus."

While both are happy with the measures that have been taken — such as closing schools, limiting gatherings and having people returning from outside the country isolate themselves — they expect more measures to come.

"There will be, unfortunately, probably increasingly more restrictive moves coming," Trimper said. "Services will be compromised and there's going to be a lot of inconvenience here."

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