By TODD STONE
MLA, Kamloops-South Thompson
I HOPE THIS NOTE finds you safe and sound as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to evolve, impacting thousands of people across the world, including here in British Columbia. While most who contract the virus will eventually get better, some have not survived.
Chantelle and I are keeping everyone in our thoughts and prayers – the families and friends of loved ones who have lost their lives, as well as those that are sick.
If you have reason to believe you have, or may have been, exposed to COVID-19, you should remain at home, call 8-1-1 for advice and be prepared to self-isolate. Please visit the website for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control at www.bccdc.ca for the most accurate and up-to-date health-related information on COVID-19.
Our hearts are full of gratitude for all those British Columbians who are fighting the COVID-19 virus on the front lines – from nurses and doctors, to pharmacists and first responders. From truck drivers and grocery store clerks, to bus drivers and early childhood educators. Not to mention many others who are risking their lives to protect ours.
And the best way to honour the courage of these incredible men and women is to protect them. We can do this by washing our hands frequently, embracing physical distancing when we have no choice but to leave our home for groceries or prescriptions – and better yet – staying home.
In the words of the doctors at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops: “This crisis is unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lifetime. We are working flat out to be there for our patients and their families. Doctors can’t do this alone. What the public does now will impact the health of British Columbians in the weeks and months ahead. Lives depend on your actions now.” One thing is clear: the COVID-19 virus does not discriminate.
With that said, there’s no place for down-playing, or outright ignoring what is being asked of every one of us to STAY HOME. People shouldn’t be gathering in parks, meeting up for group bike rides, and congregating in malls. Parents shouldn’t be sending their kids outside to play with other kids in the neighbourhood or allowing sleepovers.
As a Dad who’s hunkered down at home with three very active daughters between the ages of 10 and 15, I know this is a big ask. It’s difficult. But in these unprecedented times, it’s absolutely necessary. It’s how we can best protect our kids, their grandparents, and their friends.
Folks, we’re all in this together. So, let’s make smart decisions. Let’s do our part to flatten the curve. And to those who are putting our lives ahead of theirs by showing up day in, day out to provide the health care and essential services we all need — once again, thank you.
As a community, we must consider the anxiety and isolation that the coming weeks will bring many of our neighbours. This is especially true of seniors living on their own. Please make a point of contacting your neighbours, without getting too close, and checking that they are okay. We also need to help others, however we can, in our community.
We should be proud of the thousands of people in Kamloops and the Thompson Valleys who have stepped up to help others. Many of you have helped the Kamloops Food Bank. Others are volunteering with ‘Better at Home,’ supporting the non-medical needs of older adults.
A great example of the volunteerism and community spirit in Kamloops is embodied in ‘Caremongering Kamloops’, a 100 per cent volunteer-driven organization that is providing a neighbour to neighbour service to connect people who want to help during this crisis with those that need it. You can find this group on Facebook. All these efforts should warm our hearts.
I also know that there is a lot of anxiety with respect to what the future holds from an economic and personal financial security perspective. Many Canadians have already lost their jobs and have filed for employment insurance. Small- and medium-sized businesses have been brought to their knees, in many cases having to close their doors. The economic uncertainty we are all feeling is real and widespread.
That said, governments at all levels have announced a wide range of supports for people and small businesses, with more supports anticipated in the coming days and weeks. For up-to-date provincial information visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19. For up-to-date federal information visit: www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.
If you need help, we remain available to assist you, even though our physical office space is closed and we are no longer doing in-person meetings at this time. We kindly request that you e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will respond as soon as possible. If you do not have access to e-mail, or if your issue is of an urgent matter, call us at 250-374-2880.
Please look after yourselves, your loved ones, and your neighbours. If we help each other, stay home, follow the physical distancing precautions we’ve all been asked to take, and allow our healthcare system to take care of those who are sick, we will defeat COVID 19 – together.
Todd Stone is the MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson.