BC Liberal Party candidate for Kelowna-Mission Renee Merrifield was at an event last week with somebody who later tested positive for COVID-19, her campaign manager confirmed on Wednesday (Oct. 21).
Campaign manager Rob Murphy told the Capital News the exposure took place during a campaign event at her home last Thursday evening (Oct. 15) with a community group.
“It followed public health orders to the letter,” Murphy said, adding that the event took place outside with physical distancing and there were fewer than 20 people present. Nobody else at the event has yet tested positive for the virus, he claimed.
Merrifield has not exhibited any symptoms of the virus and has been “exceptionally safe,” according to Murphy.
The campaign was informed of the potential exposure on Monday, Oct 19.
“We took extraordinary precautions when we learned that someone tested positive,” Merrifield told the Capital News in an email. “When I called Interior Health to see what I should do, they confirmed that I was not exposed and that I had no need to quarantine. I have not been exposed as I was further than six feet away, outdoors, and following all protocol. This is a great example of how the protocols are supposed to work.”
Merrifield participated in a forum hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce the following day (Oct. 20).
That forum had several precautions in place, including the physical distancing of candidates and no live audience.
Due to Merrifield’s lack of symptoms and the precautions the forum had implemented, Murphy said the campaign did not feel the need to inform the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce or BC Green Party candidate Amanda Poon’s campaign.
Poon said she found out about the exposure through other channels following yesterday’s forum. She said she was shocked and disappointed that Merrifield’s campaign did not inform her in advance.
“I’m a bit surprised today to find that I was engaging closely with someone who had recently been exposed to COVID,” she said.
The Capital News has reached out to Poon and the Chamber for comment.
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