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Meet the man behind the Dr. Bonnie Henry Fan Club Twitter account
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's promise to deliver timely updates on the novel coronavirus has turned provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry into a household name – and earned her more than a few fans.
On Saturday, not long after Dr. Henry's rare and powerful show of emotion while announcing the virus had hit a North Shore care home, a Twitter fan page emerged dedicated to praising her work as leader of B.C.'s containment effort.
"She is amazing and we needed a place to talk about it," the Dr. Bonnie Henry Fan Club posted Monday in what's become a typical tweet from the account.
The page has since amassed a following of almost 1,000 people. That's about 1,000 more than the creator ever expected.
"It's fantastic," said Derek Kleinfeldt, a 44-year-old gardener from northern Vancouver Island. "I'm super happy about it."
Kleinfeldt told CTV News he didn't have an active Twitter account, or even a Facebook page, before deciding to organize the Dr. Henry fan club over the weekend.
"I read something about her not being on Twitter because she gets a lot of hateful messages, which just seems so absurd to me," he said. "We're quite impressed with her on every level."
The doctor appears to have her own official Twitter page, though it's been inactive since 2016.
Kleinfeldt has no connection to Henry, or anyone in the medical field. In his words, he's just one of the many people who have come to appreciate her "calm, measured and compassionate" approach to keeping the public informed about the battle against COVID-19.
"I think people sit down and listen when she's speaking," he added. "We're very fortunate to have her at the helm."
Some avid followers of local coronavirus updates have also come to appreciate her occasional injections of humour. There was the day the World Health Organization first dubbed the virus COVID-19, a combination of "coronavirus," "disease" and "2019."
Dr. Henry called the new name "highly imaginative, I guess."
Then there was her explanation of how rigorously people should be washing their hands to ward off infection: "Like you've been chopping jalapenos and you need to change your contacts."
Much of Kleinfeldt's time manning the Dr. Bonnie Henry Fan Club has been spent retweeting articles that applaud her work and supportive messages from various individuals and organizations. He said if she's ever looking for a pick-me-up, there's a growing collection of tributes waiting on his page.
"If she did want a place to read all her Twitter-related accolades, she can read them there to her heart's content," he said.