Commentary – Coping with COVID-19

Richard Froese

The worldwide coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic has hit home – all too quickly in the past two weeks.

Alberta Health Services reported the first case in the North Zone was a Grouard man.

Many people are growing concerned, especially if the so-called self-isolation and social distancing stretches into weeks and months if the number of cases and deaths rises.

Those drastic measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading are essential. As people are isolated in their homes and virtually all businesses and public services are closed, everybody can take proper steps to reduce the risk.

“All Albertans need to come together and do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, March 17.

What can each of us do to cope with the situation?

One thing is certain. The health of people is the most important thing in the world.

So, what can people do to cope with COVID-19?

Self-isolate for a two-week period ending March 31.

Our homes have become like prison cells, especially for those who live on their own.

If you recently returned from travel outside Canada or have symptoms – cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing:

  • Stay home. Do not go to an emergency room or clinic.
  • Take the COVID-19 self-assessment test online at gov.ab.ca or albertahealthservices.com.
  • Call Health Link 811 for testing and instructions.

AHS advises that people do not need to be tested for COVID-19 if in the past 14 days they have not travelled outside Canada or have not had contact with someone diagnosed as having COVID-19.

In many situations, only people with the symptoms are being tested with a limited number of swabs.

People in churches are urged to pray that a solution will be found in the coming weeks to further reduce the risk.

Around the world, people want to return to some kind of security.

Many local people are already stepping up to help higher-risk and vulnerable people during the difficult time. A High Prairie church and several volunteers in the region are extending their hearts and hands to people in need. Volunteers are offering to pick up and deliver groceries and other necessities to their homes.

Good Samaritans in other areas like Slave Lake, Peace River, Falher, McLennan and smaller communities are also ready to respond in various ways.

Municipalities are doing all they can to protect residents from any health risks.

Besides the health risk, the biggest concern most people have is the economic fallout of the pandemic. Most banks and financial institutions started to close or reduce business hours March 17.

Not everyone uses online banking, especially seniors and those with little or no computer skills. They need to go to the bank to pay bills, cash cheques and deposit money.

How will this affect the economy? Some municipalities are waiving penalties on overdue utility bills. Let’s hope businesses also give relief to people who pay late.

How are you coping with COVID-19? Share your experiences with our readers. Send your stories to spn@cablecomet.com.

Stay healthy and safe.

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