A Saskatchewan man says he learned through the media that he recently took the same flight as a someone who tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 — and is concerned that he has still not been contacted by the airline or public health officials.
“Why were we not phoned or notified?” Steven Bedecs wants to know.
Bedecs and his wife, Naomi Bedecs, flew into Regina from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Sunwing flight WG496 on March 14.
He said they were given a pamphlet at the airport that advised them to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The couple, feeling fine, returned to their home in Redvers, Sask., located about 250 kilometres southeast of Regina. Bedecs said he and his wife stayed home, except for a trip out for supplies. Their daughter-in-law popped over to visit, he said.
When the Saskatchewan government announced March 18 that a passenger aboard that plane tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, Bedecs said the news went “around the town like wildfire.”
The population of Redvers is only about 1,000 people. Bedecs said many of them knew he and his wife had just returned from Cabo.
“Those first two hours after everybody heard things, it was actually pretty tense here,” Bedecs said.
The couple, now in self-isolation, does not have symptoms and does want answers.
Global News contacted Suwning to ask why the airline had not been in touch with the passengers aboard the Bedecs’ flight.
“We only learned of the infected passenger when it was reported in the media,” Sunwing said in a statement March 19.
According to the province, another Sunwing flight into Regina on March 14, WG540 from Cancun, had a passenger who later tested presumptive positive as well.
Airline officials have been in touch with the flight crews of the affected flights and instructed them to self-isolate, the statement said.
The airline did not offer an explanation about why passengers were not informed.
In an address on March 20, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, did not speak specifically to the communication between provincial health officials and the airline or provincial health officials and passengers of affected flights.
Shahab did said the province is going to start posting details on its website about flights carrying passengers who later test positive for COVID-19, including rows of concern.
Some provinces already do so, Shahab said, adding WestJet does as well.
As of Monday, the Saskatchewan government’s website did not appear to have that information.
Shahab said he urges the federal government to post that information.
“We think its more efficient if anyone who’s travelled can just go and check a central site,” Shahab said.
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