With the release of today’s startling COVID-19 case numbers, I urge everybody to please do everything they can to restrict unnecessary interactions with others as we do our best to get through what seems to be the darkest phase of our experience with this virus.
We are fortunate in Greater Sudbury to enjoy the distance from most of these most severe outbreaks, but that should not be reason to let down our guard or take for granted the situation we find ourselves in currently.
Please keep in perspective the limited spaces we have in our hospitals and ICUs. One outbreak within the community or a seniors facility could consume the health system we have been working so hard for close to a year to protect and preserve. We cannot let our guard down.
I do ask that we each do our part to stay safe and remain positive. Our local businesses and restaurants have been put through a marathon of anxiety and hardship through this.
It's Friday - order dinner if you can. Each take out order from a local restaurant may save a job and help keep a hard working entrepreneur and their family afloat as they weather the second wave.
I read online that 40 meals a day will keep one of our greater restaurants open and operating - that keeps people working and may be the lifeline we can provide to get through this second lockdown.
If you can get out and be active - please do it. A simple walk on one of our many trails or even around your neighbourhood can do an enormous amount of good. 20 minutes of moving and being unplugged - can be a game changer.
But most importantly - please listen to the directions our experts in public health are giving us.
Changing our behaviour and doing things in new ways takes planning and practice. Think ahead. Assess your risk and live by the rules.
In addition to our children returning to in-class learning next week, I do believe if we follow these simple rules we will be able to see our businesses and restaurants return to in-store service, our gyms and other facilities reopen safely and ideally a return to a level of precaution and balance that will allow us to proceed safely until the vaccination program turns north and our community is inoculated against this virus.
It has been a trying January already. Please enjoy a quiet and safe weekend at home with those you are closest to - and please weigh all of your options with every decision you make that could impact not just your health but those of our community who we all call friends and family.
1. Stick to your household contacts
As of Saturday, October 3, 2020, at 12:01 a.m, the Government of Ontario is pausing social circles and advising that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.
2. Keep two metres distance from anyone not in your household contacts
Continue to practise physical distancing in all settings. For example, people at your table in restaurants and bars must be those in your household. Stay two metres away from everyone else, especially when it’s not possible to cover your face.
3. Use your face covering in enclosed indoor public spaces and when you can’t keep two metres’ distance outdoors
Keep a face covering (i.e. mask, scarf, bandana, etc.) with you so you can use it when you need it.
4. Avoid gatherings of any size
Provincial gathering limits may vary, but public health measures stay the same. Ask yourself if the gathering is necessary and if so, assess your risk and determine how you can make the activity safer.
5. Limit non-essential travel
Area residents are being exposed to the virus through travel outside our region. Ask yourself if the travel is necessary and if so, plan ahead on how you will keep COVID-safe.
6. Wash your hands
Wash your hands often and when visibly dirty, for 15 seconds. Make a habit of carrying hand sanitizer with you.
7. Stay home when ill
The easiest way to reduce transmission is to stay home. If you have a COVID-19 symptom, get tested.
8. Get tested
If you have a COVID-19 symptom, if you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through your work, contact an assessment centre and get tested. Remember, you can still be infected after a negative test. A negative result should not be treated as a free pass to let your guard down. Continue to take precautions.
9. Work remotely
Continue to work remotely, where possible. Reducing our time in the workplace reduces the possibility of introducing the virus to new environments. If you cannot work remotely, follow public health guidance for workplaces.
10. Practise kindness, patience, and gratitude—we are all in this together
Brian Bigger is mayor of Greater Sudbury.