So first things first, no we were not censored in an article published this past Wednesday evening. However, I was made aware of an evolving health and safety issue of individuals in the community and made an editorial decision to remove the story, as is my right as the author.
I stand-by the statements in the previous story, this story is meant to explain more of what we know.
There was a “pre-lockdown” party held last weekend according to individuals close to the situation.
“The party was pre-lockdown. One (person) in attendance was notified on (the weekend) that (they) may have been exposed to COVID-19 one week prior. All attendees have been notified through APH,” said the individual who contacted SaultOnline upset about the story.
During the pre-lockdown party, Sault Ste. Marie was under the Yellow-Protect Guidelines from the Province of Ontario. They state the conditions for any indoor party or gathering.
“Limits for certain organized public events and social gatherings such as functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbecues or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks, where physical distancing can be maintained is 10 people for indoor and 25 people for outdoor.”
SaultOnline reached out to APH to ask why the location of the party was not revealed as it had been this past January for the Garden River incident.
Jon Bouma, Manager of Infectious Disease explained in an e-mail to SaultOnline:
“We issue public notifications when we do not have information to contact everyone who may have been exposed in a timely manner,” said Bouma. “If there is an exposure risk to the public, APH would issue a notification with the times and locations of exposure, as well as public health instructions on next steps, and how to contact APH for further information.”
“APH’s priority lies in protecting and promoting the health and well-being of community members, which includes ensuring that all identified contacts to positive cases of COVID-19 are identified and supported.”
When asked about charges being laid against the operators of the party he responded.
“We will also work with local law enforcement partners where there is evidence of breach in legislation relating to COVID-19.”
It has come to the attention of SaultOnline that charges may be pending in this investigation and we have reached out to the Sault Police Services to confirm.
SaultOnline has also obtained multiple videos and photos from the party and a partial list of 22 names of attendees. For the safety of those involved, we will not be publishing the list. The name of the organizer has also been verified by multiple sources and due to the ongoing investigation, we also will not be identifying them.
However, we are in contact with multiple organizations in regards to this rapidly developing situation.
If you know of someone who may have attended this event, SaultOnline encourages you to be kind and follow Algoma Public Health guidelines as these are still fellow Saultites and members of our community.
As more information becomes available we will bring it too you.