Surreal. That is the word that many have used to describe the past week as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused life to seemingly change overnight. With the cancellations of many normal and usual activities, life seems to have changed very quickly. As well, we have come to learn many new terms like “social distancing” and “flatten the curve.”
Across Manitoba and Canada, medical professionals are providing the best advice on how to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Things are changing rapidly as new information results in additional measures being taken. What is certain is that this is truly something that we all have to do together and we have to do it while listening to medical professionals who have trained for this their entire lives.
To slow the speed of the virus, we are all being asked to undertake social distancing strategies. As of Tuesday, this included cancelling or postponing any large-scale events with more than 50 attendees; minimizing prolonged (10 minutes) close (less than two metres) contact between other individuals in public; avoiding greetings that involve touching such as handshakes; disinfecting frequently used surfaces; following public health advice related to self-monitoring and self-isolation if you have travelled or have been exposed to someone ill with the virus and considering avoiding travel, crowded places and events, especially if you are at higher risk.
These are significant measures that we as a society are not used to. Some will feel that they are willing to ignore these measures because they feel they are not at risk. However, this is not about individual risk, it is about trying to minimize the impact on society and those around us that we love. It is about ensuring that we lessen the strain on our healthcare system.
It is important for you to keep up to date on information because it is changing quickly. As various institutions begin to close, gathering current and accurate information will also be important for individuals to help assist themselves and their family. In Manitoba, the government website for information on COVID-19 is manitoba.ca/COVID19 . At this site you will find up to date information as well as a self-assessment tool. This site is updated daily with new information.
With schools and daycares being closed along with many businesses these will be unprecedented times. Many of the elderly will also feel the isolation of not being able to be in contact with loved ones as frequently as they may have in the past.
Like many past challenges that Manitoba has faced, there will be difficult things to overcome. However, there will also be many opportunities to support and encourage each other as Manitobans are also famous for. There is no doubt that Manitobans will come through this challenge as we always have, supporting and helping each other. That is the Manitoba way.