By Sue Tiffin
ONE DAY WHEN we look back to this time in our history, Ontario residents might best be able to describe what it was like with that symbolic head turn that is characteristic of those watching a tennis match.
Don’t wear a mask, we were told. Wear a mask, we were told. Go away for March Break, we were told. Stay home, we were told, but go to your cottage, we were told. Avoid gatherings, we were told. This large group socializing at a park cannot be controlled, we were told. Beaches are closed, we were told. And also, open, we were told. Definitely wash your hands. That message has stayed consistent.
For numerous reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an ever-changing flurry of information that is difficult to take in, even for those well-versed in critical thinking. With information easy to access from regions where the spread of COVID-19 is more under control, and also from areas devastated when it was able to flourish, as well as sometimes conflicting messages from different levels of government, or last-minute provincial announcements that leave municipal staff and business owners scrambling to rearrange operations and organize, it is understandable that many residents are now opting to make the best choices they can based on their own situation. Inevitable as that is, after months of self-isolation and mixed messages, it is essential that as we do that, we consider how our own actions can affect the local community.
“The message is, COVID-19 is not going away and will continue to appear periodically,” Dr. Norm Bottum of the Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team said last week, in response to a question about what the message to Haliburton County residents is at this time. “We don’t know when or where usually, so we all have to do our part to minimize picking up or spreading the virus, i.e. social
distance, hand washing, wear a mask when shopping.”
If you are choosing to go out, or if you have to go out, be as safe as possible. Think of others. Understand that asymptomatic carriers can still be superspreaders. Celebrate that we have had few confirmed cases in our area, and let’s be mindful of how we live our lives to keep it that way.
“It is not the most sick patients we have to worry about, they will be sick at home or in hospital,” said Dr. Bottum. “It is the least sick who minimize their symptoms and continue to be active in our community and unaware.”
Chandra Tremblay of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit asked that besides residents remaining diligent, the public should prepare for another possible influx of COVID-
“People also need to prepare for an anticipated second wave of the virus in the fall,” she told the Echo this week. “The province, public health and local health partners are putting plans in place in anticipation of the second wave, which could be a challenge given the fall is typically the beginning of the influenza season.”
As the province reopens, there are ways we can help support each other without forgetting what accurate and helpful information we have learned throughout this health crisis. Continue
to look out for neighbours, friends, and family. Help support local businesses in whatever way you are able to – be it curbside or takeout or purchasing a gift certificate for later use if you can. Think of others. Be mindful and be kind. These are the same messages shared within our community before
the pandemic and will continue to get our vibrant little spot in this world through it.