Since the start of the pandemic, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says her office has received negative comments, in some cases threats, from Islanders in relation to the COVID-19 rules in the province.
"There are some people who have not been happy and they have expressed that," said Morrison during Tuesday's briefing.
Stopping short of describing any of those interactions in detail, Morrison said she understands why people might react negatively to the health protocols in place in the province.
Morrison said while these decisions were made to protect Islanders, she knows they might not be easy for people to get used to.
"They're not always popular decisions and they have impacts. And I think when you couple that with fear and anxiety in the middle of a pandemic, some people react to that," said Morrison.
"I do think any time there's a threat of any kind, it certainly can be upsetting for staff, for my family or me personally," she said.
I think we've had lots of people who have disagreed and have expressed their disagreement — some more loudly than others — Premier Dennis King
Morrison said that this does not reflect the majority of Islanders — that most people have been overwhelmingly positive as the province copes with COVID-19.
"We've said it week after week here. Islanders look out for each other and they want to look after their families and their community. And that has been overwhelmingly the response."
This isn't the first time tempers have flared over COVID-19 rules.
In May, RCMP were called to Premier Dennis King's house after someone, upset with the province's decisions during the pandemic, arrived on the property. King wasn't home at the time, but his wife was. King said the individual said something that made his wife feel threatened.
RCMP said no charges were laid in that instance. King has since said that while he's had lots of conversations with people who don't share the same opinion he does, he hasn't had any more incidents like the one in May.
"I really haven't felt threatened personally. I think we've had lots of people who have disagreed and have expressed their disagreement — some more loudly than others. But I haven't felt personally threatened along the way," said King.
But to hear that Morrison and her office have been the target of similar negativity is upsetting, he said.
"I get a little bit angered and disappointed because I don't know anyone who's worked harder and has given more than Dr. Morrison through this, who has worked just so hard to try to find the delicate balance through very difficult times."
Most have been respectful
King said he thinks that on the whole, Islanders have been respectful, even if they disagree with the decisions that the province has made.
"There have been isolated incidents, of course, which maybe not everybody is proud of. And I'm certainly disappointed in," he said.
But, King and Morrison said they don't want to dwell on those isolated incidents, and instead hope to focus on the positivity they've seen and heard from Islanders.
"Overwhelmingly, people have been very positive," Morrison said.
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