Health unit produces COVID-19 information videos

A series of videos featuring acting local medical officer of health Dr. Ian Gemmill have been uploaded to the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District health unit YouTube channel.

“The health unit produced these videos as a way to help share messaging from Dr. Gemmill with our communities,” said Chandra Tremblay, HKPRD health unit spokesperson. “The health unit has always used video as a way to share information, either through social media or our website, and we are hoping to do more videos with Dr. Gemmill in the next few months while he is our acting medical officer of health.”

Here, the four videos have been transcribed.

Video title: COVID-19 shutdown is necessary
Video description: Acting local medical officer of health Dr. Ian Gemmill says the current Ontario-wide shutdown is required to get COVID-19 under control, and allow for broad vaccination.

“…there’s a couple of things about this virus. Number one, when a fully susceptible population encounters a new virus, everyone eventually is going to get it unless we can intervene in a definitive way. One way to intervene is to lock things down. I think we’re now in a position where our health teams are telling us that if we don’t turn things around, they’re going to have to make some tough decisions about who gets an ICU bed and who doesn’t, and that’s really what we want to avoid.

So I think actually the most important part of the lockdown is not the commercial part. I think the most important part is the social part. Don’t mix between households.

And I hope that by next spring when the virus settles down for the summer, which it will do to some degree, and when we have a safe and effective vaccine that is available to everybody, we will in a very structured, and logical and organized way be able to get everybody who wants this vaccine immunized so that this time next year, we won’t be facing another lockdown.”

Video title: COVID-19: Behaviours have consequences
Video description: Gathering together … not wearing masks … these behaviours will have serious consequences for our community. “We have to pull together,” to prevent COVID-19, urges Dr. Gemmill.

“It’s not just me and you who are involved here. This is a community-wide situation and the decisions that you and I make about our own health and about protecting ourselves has consequences for everybody else in the community. If I, for example, decide I don’t like masks, or I’m going to go and gather with people, and I get sick, through those behaviours, I am going to spread this virus so that eventually those people in long-term care are going to have negative effects because of my behaviour even though I don’t see this as an issue for me. So, we have to pull together, you know, as the old saying, ‘if we don’t pull together we’re going to pull apart.’ And I think that that is very true in our response to this virus as well.”

Video title: Do our part; stay apart!
Video description: Dr. Gemmill urges everyone not to gather during provincial COVID-19 shutdown. This action is essential if we want to get back to normal – sooner than later.

“I really hope that the lockdown gives people the understanding, and I hope that the politicians and the decision makers and the public health professionals across the system keep repeating this don’t gather, don’t gather, don’t gather, because this is what will cause a virus to spread. And we’ve got that vaccine, it’s so close almost that we can taste it, let’s not blow it by bad behaviour now, because in a few months we’ll be able to get back to normal I hope, I really do.”

Video title: COVID-19: ‘Blown away’ by vaccine
Video description: Dr. Gemmill explains how the COVID-19 vaccine will be rolled out in 2021, why it’s being done this way, and why getting vaccinated is the key to a return to normal.

“I’m actually blown away by the fact that we have – so quickly – have safe and effective vaccines against coronavirus. We’ve got a mechanism now through the hospital program to get healthcare workers immunized and that’s the first step, because they’re the first people who need to be immunized, because they’re the ones who are actually knowingly facing this virus every single day. So once we’ve got that vaccine we’re going to be able to go into long-term care. And why is that important? Because that’s where the deaths have been, that’s where the hospitalizations have been, that’s where the complications have been, and if we’re going to protect the vulnerable, that’s the next step, is to get those people protected. And having a vaccine in place and through it [we] are not just protecting individuals but diminishing the circulation of the virus in the community, that’s what’s going to be the key, A) to protecting our hospital system, but also to letting us get back to normalcy in our lives. And that’s where we all want to be, to me that’s the goal of this whole thing, is to get back so we can live our lives as we had before.”

To watch these videos on COVID-19 information or other health information resources produced by the local health unit, visit