RICHARD's desk: April newsletter – Corona update

Special issue
In light of the COVID-19 situation, our newsletter is modified to reflect the   latest updates we have received, as well as our personal situation.

We are also including health precautionary notes as received from

  • the Lakeridge Health Services in Durham Region (Ontario),
  • its representatives Randy Filinksi and Jake Farr, and
  • the City of Pickering councillor, Maurice Brenner.

Our situation and status
We are in Southwest Florida which is beginning to deteroriate almost hourly. The local news updates us with recent closures and declining situations: all libraries, activity centers, recreation centers have been closed either until further notice or into late April or early May; schools, colleges closed; bars and clubs, closed; restaurants closed or modified for take out only or ‘social distanced’ dining; grocery stores, Costco, Walmart, all on modified hours with seniors being given priority access upon opening when the store is at is cleanest; public beaches closing down everywhere, like dominoes, one after another. Young people on spring break urged to heed the warnings and not party in large groups. Public announcements declaration: stay home unless you have to go out for an emergency. Rumours are beginning: national guard to lock down cities; national guard to close off all interstate highways.

Some further update links:
How long the virus can live on various surfaces

Departure
Given all of the above, we will be leaving for home very soon. Hotel bookings are confirmed but the situation may be more dynamic as things deteriorate further. The Canada-USA border is closed except for commercial traffic and citizens returning home in both directions.

Message from Lakeridge Health Services (Youtube video):
LAKERIDGE HEALTH SERVICES MESSAGE

The message reinforces the same precautionary warning being given to everyone here in the USA:

USA declares State of war status
The American government has declated that the country is now in a state of war situation. The National Guard is on high alert. Military hospital ships are being relocated to large coastal cities to support the hospitals there. Federally stockpiled health equipment, protective equipment such as masks and respirators and medicine, normally reserved for the military is being considered for release to the general public where needed.

Back home update
Information we have received from back home is as follows:

  • Medical volunteer services are working as normal;
  • Meals on wheels continues its operations;
  • Medical news and news bulletins are out of date as soon as broadcasted;
  • Medical services such as Community Care Durham, Carea, the Oshawa Seniors Centres, Feed the Need and the ALZ organizations are still operating as fully as they can;
  • Lakeridge HEALTH SERVICES web page;

  • LOCAL HOTLINE DURHAM REGION:  Ph: 1 800 841 2729

COVID -19 Response Phone Line for all of Durham Region – Pickering Residents
Toll Free: 1-888-573-0982
A local volunteer support group to get supplies to those unable to get out due to self-quarantine, compromised immune systems, age 65+ or otherwise at risk.

Personal commentary
The current situation is like a Hollywood movie with the movie’s ending not in sight yet. In fact, most declarations seem to have one common message, and it’s dire: “Things will get worse before they get better.”

The news media seems to be in a competition as to which network can scoop others with the latest bad/sensational story. Positive, constructive and calming stories are relegated to the end of each broadcast.

Most people seem to be taking the precautionary advice to heart, staying home, avoiding social contact and doing all hygenic procedures with diligence. The biggest worry is that ‘first responders’ may become ill, and their interstaff contact will reduce working staff numbers as each undertakes quarantining. The load on remaining staff will become overburdensome. 

We are taking every precaution we can but we have decided to head back home as there is no way to predict how the situation may develop, though it is likely to get worse. Our biggest worry is that patient priority may relegate foreigners to ‘back of the line’ status; not to mention that our own travel medical insurance has issued a termination notice effective Mar. 23rd. We will be on the road, one full day from home and hope we do not run into any medical issues. Pet friendly hotels have been confirmed and we will take all the medical precautions we can enroute.

We hope all goes well and we can post a ‘safely arrived’ update very soon. Stay calm and stay tuned.

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