LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Transparency From Government on Virus Conditions

The Santiva Chronicle publishes opinions and letters on topics that are important to Sanibel and Captiva. They may be submitted via e-mail at news@santivachronicle.com. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Santiva Chronicle.

To the editor,

This is my third letter on the transparency of the local government’s reporting on COVID-19 conditions on our island. There were 7 new cases of COVID-19 reported bringing the total accumulative cases, as of Monday November 23rd, to 84. In one week, 7 cases were added to the count. I suggested before, we know nothing more than that number. How many cases will it take before more people become engaged in the fight to get more information for all of us? My guess is that it will be when the number of cases hits over 100 or is at double-digit increases of weekly numbers. I believe as the population swells, because of season, so will the COVID-19 cases.

Why do we not have any contact tracing on the island? Perhaps a more important question is that we have it but have not been told the results. Imagine the following scenario: Someone on Sanibel gets COVID-19 and dies, and contact tracing leads to a restaurant on Sanibel but no one is told that the restaurant is the source. More people who were at the restaurant get COVID-19 and die. Is the local government guilty of negligence because they knew and did nothing to warn the people? Is the local government guilty of negligence by not demanding more information from the healthcare experts? I have asked now in 3 letters how we can make our own healthcare decisions with one piece of information. Do we have a right to try and protect ourselves?

If the government doesn’t provide contact tracing or withholds information, we can’t make informed decisions. The government has to be held accountable for its decisions. I believe that the point is fast approaching when the city will be sued for willful negligence unless things change.

Dan Perkins
Sanibel Resident

Comments (1)

  1. Dear Dan:

    I responded once before and will again. I am a long time resident here – like you. Surely you know that the city of Sanibel does not have a health department. They do not make medical policy or write the HIPPA laws. Contact tracing would be fantastic I agree – but near as I can tell that is a state led initiative that can connect with counties. Florida actually has a contact tracing program – please see https://www.nashp.org/state-approaches-to-contact-tracing-covid-19/ – but I do not know if they are still doing it or if they have updated it. Maybe Sanibel officials can get more information about it. The city of Sanibel has no resources or funding or staff to do contact tracing Dan. See the attached link. Perhaps writing to state officials is the thing to do. I had no idea they even had a contact tracing program since they do not publicize it or talk about it at all.

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