Mother stands by decision to name daycare with positive COVID-19 case

Elizabeth Latimer thought she was doing the right thing when she posted on Facebook that her five-year-old son may have been exposed to COVID-19 at Go-Go Gymnastics' after-school program.

She had just received a call from Public Health and wanted to be transparent about the situation. 

Although the official wouldn't confirm the location, Latimer knew that it could only be her son's elementary school or his after-school childcare. So, she took to Facebook on Saturday evening and named both places. 

"That's something I posted because information is knowledge and information is power," she said from her Fredericton home Tuesday. 

She wanted to make sure all parents were aware of the positive test at Go-Go's Main Street location, so they could take the proper precautions for their own families. 

Latimer was not prepared for the backlash she received. 

People began to post very unkind things, to say the least, she said. 

Some demanded to know what grocery stores she had visited, and did she wash her groceries properly? They chastised her for not self-isolating, and some called her vulgar names. She was accused of seeking attention and causing "unnecessary drama." 

Submitted by Elizabeth Latimer

At first, she tried to respond to the messages. No, she didn't self-isolate because she didn't know about the confirmed case until April 4. No, she didn't take her children to the grocery store with her. Yes, she washed her hands frequently. 

But the questions and comments kept coming. 

Four hours after she posted the message, she took it down. 

"It was just overwhelming because it's not something I was expecting," said Latimer. 

While many supported her decision, Latimer estimates that she got more than 20 negative ones — either posted publicly on Facebook or sent privately through Messenger. 

Two people even called her on the phone — and one of those was particularly mean-spirited and insulting, she said. 

In spite of all of the negative comments she received, Latimer believes people should know the name of the daycare so they can take steps to protect themselves. That's why she ended up posting the letter she got from Public Health — a letter that contained the name of the facility. 

Submitted by Elizabeth Latimer

Despite repeated voicemail, email and Facebook messages left on Monday and Tuesday, Go-Go officials did not respond to requests for an interview. 

Latimer still believes naming the facility is the right thing to do, because Monday, she was contacted by a mother of a child at the daycare who still hadn't spoken with anyone from Public Health. If not for her post, said Latimer, the woman wouldn't have known about the positive case. 

She wonders what makes the Fredericton daycare any different from a case in Calgary, where a daycare operator and Alberta's chief medical officer of health both talked publicly about a child testing positive. She cites other cases where officials across the country have pinpointed specific cases. 

"It's a large amount of families, and a large amount of children that go to Go-Go. And then those children go out and see other children and see other people," said Latimer. 

People have a right to know whether they, or a family member, may have come into contact with someone at the facility, she said. 

Just as she wished that people had been more understanding of her decision to go public, she wants people to be kind to the daycare. 

"It's not their fault. They couldn't have known one of their employees or children were sick … I'm not mad at them and I don't think anyone should be," said Latimer.