(This blog entry has been updated)
Once again, Hamilton's public health department has chosen secrecy as its default position in a public health matter.
After a summer scandal when the health department failed to advise city council or the public about a downtown legionnaire's outbreak, the same department is now under fire for failing to notify the public of a "flu-like outbreak" among diners at The Piazza.
Raise the Hammer's Trevor Shaw broke the story on November 18, and today's Hamilton Spectator carries two related articles: one providing details on the incident, and the other investigating why public health did not report it.
The reporter, Dana Brown, writes:
Public health officials say it was not necessary to notify the community of a flu-like outbreak stemming from a city banquet hall because the situation was contained and under control.
In other words, don't inform the public unless we have to. This is the same attitude public health took in the summer.
Openness and accountability demands the opposite position: inform the public unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. The new city council should make it a priority to transform the culture of secrecy at public health.
Update: This blog entry originally identified the business as "Carmen's banquet hall". The correct name is "Carmen's Piazza". -Ed.
Update 2: In fact, the business is actually called "The Piazza", not "Carmen's Piazza". The two businesses are not affiliated. -Ed.
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