WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) — As British Columbia’s health officials continue to spurn the nation-wide COVID-19 tracing app, a White Rock father-son duo is working to track and map anonymous exposure tips.
Bernard Trest has been pushing back against B.C.’s approach to the pandemic since the fall, when he fought for mandatory masks in classrooms and unsuccessfully challenged the province’s back-to-school plan in court.
“People know this virus is circulating in our communities but we do not know where and we as citizens have a right to know what businesses are affected,” he tells CityNews.
As B.C. health officials continue to spurn the nation-wide COVID-19 tracing app, a White Rock father-son duo is working to track, map, and anonymize exposure tips and rule-breaking businesses in BC. We hear from Bernard Trest and his 11-yr-old son on @NEWS1130 this am
— Ash 'I work from home now' Kelly (@AshDKelly) January 6, 2021
Max, his 11-year-old son, is helping out and says he’s hoping to slow the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.
“We don’t even know the life-long complications of this virus. Ten years from now we could find out that like, you start having problems,” he worries.
The pair created a Facebook page, COVID Reported, where you can leave tips about exposures at B.C. businesses, schools, or workplaces. Tipsters are verified through personal information but their identities will be kept private, according to creators.
“What we’re requesting is that if somebody becomes aware of an exposure event, whether it’s a workplace, a mall … or so forth, they let us know about it,” says Trest.
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Potential exposures will be verified, laid out on a Google map, and the duo’s page will also track “repeat offenders” where people believe COVID-19 safety measures and restrictions are being ignored.
“One of our mottos is, ‘If you know what businesses are affected, you can stop yourself from becoming infected,’” says Trest.
While Vancouver Coastal Health says anonymous tips are not reliable because they cannot be verified by public health, Trest accuses B.C. of falling behind on the COVID-19 data information-sharing front.
“B.C. is actually one of the least-transparent jurisdictions in regards to data,” says Trest.
A number of exposure notices are listed on the BCCDC website, and VCH says exposure notices are only provided to the broader public if there is outstanding contact tracing that cannot be completed.