The impact of COVID-19 has been changing on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. I wrote this column on Thursday, and numbers are sure to change by the time you read this.
But what’s not changing is what each of us can do to stop the virus in its track, to “flatten the curve.” This means keeping the number of new infections as small as possible, so our doctors offices and hospitals aren’t overwhelmed by patents requiring hospital treatments to survive. We are trying to avoid the same situation we’ve are seeing play out so sadly in places like Italy.
Each of us needs to take the simple actions that will keep us and our family healthy and stop the virus from spreading. The steps are simple: wash your hands; socially isolate when necessary; stay at least two metres from others; and, wash your hands. I said it twice – it’s that important. Hand washing with soap and water breaks the back of this virus and stops its spread.
We also need to do everything we can to pull together. It’s already happening here in the Peace and across our province and nation. People are reaching out to neighbors, especially the elderly, to see what they can do to help. If you’re looking for a way to help, call your local seniors’ organization, community group, or place of worship to ask if there’s a way to lend a hand.
You can also help local businesses by buying from them. Restaurants are some of the hardest hit, so if you can order take out or delivery, do it. If they offer gift cards or gift certificates, pick one up. This can help them with cashflow at this critical time.
We must be ready to keep up these actions, as individuals and as a community, for some time. Our health experts have no idea when the pandemic will run its course. In fact, it is critical we keep up these actions because they are the secret to winning the war against COVID-19.
There’s a great deal of information out there about what the provincial and federal governments are doing to support people though this crisis. That information is being updated on an almost daily basis. The following are the go-to numbers and links for up-to-date information
· If you have symptoms, including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing, go to the self-assessment tool at https://covid19.thrive.health/.
· For the most up-to-date non-medical information, including the latest travel restrictions, , and provincial and federal programs, call 1 888 COVID-19 or visit www.gov.bc.ca/COVID19
· For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, and how to keep the proper distance to stay safe, how to socially isolate, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control at http://www.bccdc.ca/
Please do everything you can to stay healthy and safe. Let’s take care of each other. We are going to get through this together. If you need to reach me or our office, please email Mike.Bernier.MLA@leg.bc.ca