This cannot be overstated: staying home and practicing physical distancing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will literally save lives. Premier Kenney has stated this, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw has said it, and Wetaskiwin City Council is also sharing this message with the local community.
This pandemic is uncharted territory for many around the world. As the COVID-19 lockdown draws on, it is becoming apparent that finding — and distributing — a vaccine will be the only way we return to some semblance of normalcy. Until then, our best defense is limiting our contact with others, as well as our movements — which helps prevent transmitting the virus before showing symptoms of having it.
“We have come together before as a community in so many amazing ways. This time, we must remain apart to help protect ourselves and our fellow community members,” said Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam. “If you follow Alberta Health Services’ guidelines and treat everyone as if they have the virus, you will be as safe as you can possibly be.”
As of 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 5, Alberta Health Services was reporting eight (8) confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Wetaskiwin Region. Cases of COVID-19 are only reported within pre-determined geographic regions, which can be found on the province’s website.
There have been a few key moments of hope in the race to develop a vaccine so far. In early January, researchers in China released the genomic sequence for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Another key moment came in early March, when researchers at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Medical Centre, the University of Toronto and McMaster University isolated and cultured the virus from two patients. This opened the doors to lab-grown copies of the virus being available for researchers around the world who are looking for a vaccine or treatment. To assist these efforts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in late March that Canada would commit $192 million to efforts to find a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. So far more than half a dozen efforts to develop a vaccine are currently underway in Canada.
“The culture of healthcare in Wetaskiwin, as well as the rest of the world, is changing rapidly,” said Wetaskiwin Councillor Gabrielle Blatz-Morgan. “As someone who works in our local laboratory, I urge all our community members to take physical distancing seriously. This is the only proven method we have to flatten the curve and help prevent the spread.”
Healthcare workers can only work as efficiently to contain COVID-19 as community members allow. If you are sick, self-isolate at home for 14 days. You can still call 9-1-1 in an emergency but be prepared to answer screening questions related to COVID-19. When healthcare workers receive improper information during patient screening, or someone coughs without covering their mouth, it puts their lives in danger. This not only causes shortages in a field that can’t afford a minimized workforce during a pandemic, it also increases the likelihood of community transmission.
The moral of the story? Stay home for all non-essential, non-urgent reasons. Your choice to stay home will literally save lives. Let’s wait this out together, so we can all come back together again.
Stay updated with what Wetaskiwin is doing about COVID-19 at www.wetaskiwin.ca/covid19