This afternoon, our Channel 27 News Facebook page posted some information about the coronavirus that turned out to not be true.
After receiving a tip from a local resident that the coronavirus had been found and confirmed here in Grant County, our own Richarh Tyson reached out to Grant County Health Officer Dr. David Moore, whom we had previously reached out to for clarification on the virus and the threat that our county currently faces.
During that phone call with Mr. Tyson, Dr. Moore said that he had just been informed of a coronavirus case that had been confirmed at Marion General Hospital in Marion, Indiana.
In an attempt to inform and protect our fellow residents, our Facebook page put out a statement, echoing what Dr. Moore had told us.
Within minutes, we started receiving multiple angry and mean-spirited comments on that post. Not only were Grant County residents upset by this apparent news, they were also extremely doubtful and supposedly reached out to MGH on their own, only to be told that the statement we received from Dr. Moore about the coronavirus being confirmed at MGH were false.
Following this onslaught of comments, Mr. Tyson reached back out to Dr. Moore, to verify his previous statement. Dr. Moore then made a phone call to double-check his own understanding that the virus was indeed found in Grant County.
When Dr. Moore and Mr. Tyson spoke once more, Dr. Moore then clarified that he had been mistaken and that the only case of coronavirus confirmed in Indiana at this point is in Marion County — not the city of Marion or anywhere in Grant County.
Because we learned that the statement about the coronavirus being in Grant County was not true, we elected to delete that statement from Facebook entirely.
It was then that Richarh Tyson asked Dr. Moore to send us a video of himself, clarifying the mistake and setting the record straight.
Here is what Dr. Moore said in his video:
Hi, Richarh. This is Dr. David Moore, County Health Officer for Grant County.
I erroneously reported to you that we had coronavirus in Marion. I told you Marion General Hospital.
It is Marion County.
I apologize to you and to the citizens of Grant County for that error.
There is no confirmed coronavirus in Grant County, to my knowledge.
Richarh Tyson also conducted a live stream on our Facebook page tonight in order to share Dr. Moore’s video and to explain the situation himself. (I will include this video at the end of my post.)
While most people have been understanding of the mistake and have moved on from the fear and anger the original post caused, there are still those who say they are now cautious about believing what they hear and see from us.
As a member of the Channel 27 News team, I want to remind our audience that every single person on this team is merely human. Like any other human beings, we occasionally make mistakes — just like Dr. Moore made a mistake, and just like you make mistakes, too. None of us are perfect, and I don’t know a single member of our team that would claim to be perfect.
What I do know is that our team members work very hard every day to bring our audience the latest, most accurate information available to us. Today that meant we believed the most accurate information was coming from our County Health Officer, and in an attempt to get this information out quickly, to hopefully help protect the health and safety of our fellow residents, we put this statement out on our Facebook page immediately.
We didn’t know at the time that Dr. Moore was mistaken about the location of the coronavirus case, but we have since removed that original statement. This wasn’t the first mistake we have made, and it certainly won’t be the last, but we will work hard every day to make sure these mistakes are few and far between. When mistakes are made, we will always do our best to make things right — both factually and with our audience.
We want the community to know that we believe whole-heartedly in our mission to keep the people of Grant County informed and safe, and I hope you will continue to support us, even when mistakes are made.
We could not do this work without you and your support.