B.C. WestJet passenger says she wasn’t directly notified of coronavirus case

A British Columbia woman is feeling frustrated after she allegedly learned second-hand that a fellow passenger on her flight from Vancouver to Kelowna had tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, March 10 Barbara Szymczyk flew to the Okanagan, for work, on WestJet flight WS3326.

WestJet said in a statement that it is following notification processes outlined by health authorities “which includes providing manifest information to the health authority and notifying WestJet employees that worked the flight.”

The airline pointed out it has also been posting information about impacted flights on its website and social media and said it is “going above and beyond to ensure we are being open and honest about any flights that have been impacted.”

However, WestJet said it does not have the capacity to notify guests individually especially as it does not always have passengers’ contact information.

“In this time of crisis and due to the rapid increase in infections and reports this is not a task we can manage alone,” read a statement from WestJet.

“We ask for the media’s help in sharing this as understandably the burden has become unmanageable across the board.”

Indeed, B.C.’s provincial health officer said it is very challenging to reach passengers.

“It’s not easy. You actually don’t show up as a name and a contact information on most flight manifests,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a media briefing, on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a matter of linking with things like passport information.”

Global News has reached out to the provincial Ministry of Health for comment.

The health ministry said officials are checking their records to verify Szymczyk was contacted.

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