Alberta's top doctor says shame is stopping people from getting COVID-19 tests
Alberta's chief medical officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says that many people who've tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling ashamed.
In a public update on the state of coronavirus in Alberta on Thursday, Hinshaw started by saying that she's worried about the number of people who feel shameful for testing positive or for even getting tested at all.
"Shame is an emotion that drives people to hide or to cover up what they are ashamed of. It can be triggered by anger or judgment by others or by an individual's own beliefs about what has happened," she said.
"This is a common theme I have been hearing over the past few weeks reported by our contact tracers who are talking to people who test positive and their contacts."
Hinshaw went on to say that this is troublesome because feeling ashamed can cause people to forgo getting tested or admitting to having symptoms at all.
"The more that COVID drives shame, the harder it will be to prevent."
We’re all trying the best we can, but 1 slip at the wrong time & place can lead to transmission. We must be compassionate with those who test positive. We must support those who have even mild symptoms to stay home & away from others w/o shame. Our success depends on this. (5/13)— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) August 20, 2020
In order to fight this common theme, she urged people to show compassion for those who are sick or need to stay home because of coronavirus symptoms.
"It is easy to be frustrated or even angry if our lives are disrupted further by an exposure to COVID by someone in our circle," Hinshaw said. "None of us is perfect, we all make mistakes."
In Alberta, there are currently 1,084 active COVID-19 cases. Hinshaw said that over 855,000 tests have been completed on more than 690,00 people.
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