Keeping COVID-19 at bay

By Jenn Watt

Summer is here, services and businesses are reopening and all around us we see a jarring collision of perspectives on the coronavirus and the measures needed to protect ourselves. Perhaps more than ever we are confronted with confusing opinions about how best to make our way through the world – from pleas for continued self-isolation from one group to the open flouting of any precautions from another.

Particularly in Haliburton County which was able to enter Phase 2 well before the GTA and which has had 10 confirmed (nine resolved) COVID-19 cases total since March risk appears low and it may seem that precautions can be set aside or taken less seriously.

However what we need to remember is that our good fortunes have come at least in part from abiding by the recommendations from the health unit and medical staff who asked us to isolate early, physically distance, practice hand hygiene and don masks when indoors.Our behaviours then helped to limit the spread of the virus, but as we’re learning, this is an ongoing effort.

And that ongoing effort is hard. We’ve been cooped up for so long, our movements restricted, our favourite things off limits. As the province “reopens” it can be tempting to say “forget it – I’m going to the store without a mask, I’m giving my neighbour a big hug and I’m throwing this Purell into the garbage can!”

But what we need to remember is that we are in a relatively good position in Haliburton because of what we’ve done to get here. The distancing, the self-isolating, the masks, they’ve all been working and they are still needed.

We need only to look to our neighbours to the south to be reminded of what can happen when expert advice is not heeded. The U.S. has been setting records day after day for coronavirus spread with 50000 new cases in a single day last week and the country’s infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warning it could surge to 100000 cases a day.

Canada is not the United States and Haliburton is not close to any epicentre of virus spread, but we also cannot become complacent just because we haven’t been hit hard.

Our smattering of cases and relative good health is thanks to thousands upon thousands of people making small decisions day in and day out to protect each other.

We have to keep it up expressly because weare seeing so few cases. It’s working. Let’s keep at it.