We found out over the weekend that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived in our region. Across the province at last check, the total number of cases in Ontario was around 200. On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced travel restrictions for foreign nationals entering the country and told Canadians abroad to come home.
Online I’ve seen rumours and speculation about how many cases there are in the area. It seems almost everyday I receive an email telling me that someone knows someone who heard there is a case in their neighbourhood.
As a newspaper, it is our job to cut through the rumours and give the public the most accurate and up-to-date information that they need to stay informed.
Here is what I can share so far. The new Coronavirus that has been spreading globally is highly contagious because it is new. In most cases, the disease is not life-threatening and symptoms are not that severe. What is concerning is how contagious this virus is. Even if only a small number of those infected die from the sickness, that is still a very high number because of how many people could potentially contract COVID-19.
What can be done? Get your news from public health officials, the province of Ontario, the Canadian federal government and of course, your local newspaper for starters. Second is to practice social distancing. Work from home if you can. Stay home if you’re sick. Avoid going out where possible. Most importantly however, is to wash your hands thoroughly.
By taking measures to ensure that we aren’t infected, not only will less people get sick, but also there will hopefully be a lower chance of a person infecting someone else, especially a senior or someone who is immune-compromised. These measures will also help to keep people out of hospitals and emergency rooms who don’t need to be there. The real threat to all of us from COVID-19 are the knock-on effects. Yes, this will hurt the economy, and local business, but it could also put the lives of those who are not infected with the virus at risk.
Many of you I am sure have seen the graph that has been circulating, one with a line that forms a mountain, and another that looks like a flat hill. That’s what needs to happen with the Coronavirus to keep our healthcare system from being overloaded. We all have to take steps to blunt that curve. For many of us, this is the first time in our lives where each person in the community has a role to play in a global event like this. Think of your neighbours. Keep yourselves healthy.
Also help your neighbours by staying informed. Even in Cornwall, we saw a run on toilet paper. How ridiculous is that? Coronavirus in no way will require you to have a stockpile of toilet paper. Do not actively hoard items, leave some toilet paper for the next person.
Also, keep in mind that your neighbours and loved ones might be in self-isolation or quarantine. They might require essentials like food and medicine. If you are healthy and are able to go out, there is nothing wrong with collecting a few items for them that they might need and dropping them off at their front door. Like I said, we all have our part to play in this.
For the latest updates on the Coronavirus, Seaway News is taking part in daily conference calls with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. Keep an eye on our website for the latest news.
How do you feel about the community’s reaction to the Coronavirus? Do you have questions about the virus? Email any comments or questions to our Editor firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer those questions for you.