By Jenn Watt
First, before anything else, we want to thank those who over the last couple of weeks have been on the front-lines in our community as we all scramble to respond to the novel coronavirus. The health-care workers, grocery store clerks, first responders and cleaning staff and so many others are working to keep us healthy and safe. They’re out there in public spaces, selflessly holding everything together. Thank you.
What the rest of us can do is ramp up our efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay in our community. On Sunday, we received the sad news that someone in our health unit region has died from pneumonia and COVID-19. The man in his 80s was admitted to Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay on March 19.
Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, the medical officer of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, said there has been community transmission since the man did not have travel history or contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19.
We do not know whether the virus is in Haliburton County. As I write this column, we have no confirmed cases here. However, medical professionals are urging people to behave as though we all have it – to keep our distance from other people (at least two metres), limiting the time we’re out buying essentials and avoiding public places.
For those who are returning from travel or who are ill, you are to self-isolate for 14 days. No going for groceries or visiting with neighbours. Food can be delivered, neighbours can be reached by phone, text, FaceTime and any number of virtual methods.
This is an incredibly stressful time and one that is requiring a great deal of sacrifice – for some far more than others. However, as we watch the devastating situation in China, Italy and now the United States, it’s becoming clear why we need to take these precautions.
Ontario has set up a self-assessment on their website ontario.ca/coronavirus. If you think you might have COVID-19, start there. We’ve also posted a thorough document on how to stay healthy and prevent the spread of coronavirus, which was written by the Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team, on our website.
It’s important to remember right now that while we’re keeping our physical distance, we’re all still a phone call or a mouse click away from one another. We can’t shake hands or offer a hug to a friend, but we can send each other jokes via text, video-chat over dinner, and post pictures of our pets to social media.
We need to do our part both to stay physically distant and emotionally connected.