Preventative measures for COVID-19
An update from your Member of Parliament, Darrell Samson
2020 continues to be an extraordinary year for government. While the regular business of departmental issues goes on and preparations are made for Budget 2020, our main priority has shifted to the containment of Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19 and mitigating its impact on all Canadians.
Due to the unprecedented significance of this global pandemic, this message will deal exclusively with Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19: the facts you need to know, how you can protect you and your loved ones, and how you can personally help minimize the overall impact.
As we know, the effects of Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19 and responses from our national and provincial governments are changing day-to-day, with crucial decisions being made based on the best information available at the time. We are listening to the advice of our top health officials who are providing us with best practices to curb this pandemic.
Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19 is an illness caused by a new coronavirus. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. There is no vaccine for Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19 at this time, so prevention is the only way to combat the spread. Symptoms may be very mild or more serious, and include a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. These may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.
Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze, close personal contact (such as touching or shaking hands), and/or touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. These viruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.
FLATTENING THE CURVE
If the virus is already out there, and most people who get it have mild symptoms, why does it matter if it spreads slowly or quickly?
Because slowing it down buys time, and that time is critical to minimizing the effects of the disease. “Flattening the curve” is a term is being used by public health officials around the world and is ourbest chance to limit the affects of Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19.With no vaccine to stop it, this will inevitably spread throughout the population. While we cannot STOP it, we can collectively CONTROL the rate of the spread. If allowed to spread too quickly, any health care system would be overwhelmed beyond its capacity to handle the sudden increase in cases. By slowing it down spread, our healthcare providers will be in a better position to do what they do best: protect us all and minimize the casualties.
That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that EVERYONE, regardless of age or physical health, do their part to slow the spread of Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19 as much as possible. Even if you think you’re not at risk of contracting the virus, we must all respect the preventative measures we’ve been asked to follow, such as social distancing (keeping a distance of at least 6 feet or 2.0 metres from other people), washing our hands more frequently, self-isolation when advised, etc. The closures and cancellations imposed by governments are not an overreaction to scare people, but a part of well-reasoned overall public health strategy.
EI CLAIMS RELATED TO COVID-19:
Of course, the many closures and cancellations we’ve endured are more than just an inconvenience to many people. For some, they mean a loss of income, inability to pay rent, or provide for their families. Our government has already made provisions to waive the waiting period for EI benefits in these cases. Furthermore, in order to support Canadians with questions regarding EI claims related to Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19, a dedicated phone line 1-833-381-2725 has been established for those who:
- have had to self-isolate and cannot work
- are an employee or employer looking to apply for financial support through the EI Work-sharing program, or
- have been laid off due to Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19
There are simple, practical things you can do to prepare in case you or someone in your household becomes ill or if Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19 becomes common in your community. Make a plan that includes:
- (a few weeks’ worth) on hand so you will not need to leave your home if you become ill. Avoid panic buying. Add a few extra items to your cart every time you shop. This places less of a burden on suppliers and can help ease financial burden on you as well. Remember to renew and refill your prescription medications.
- in case you become ill or if you need to care for a sick family member. For example: Have backup childcare in case you or your usual care provider become ill. If you care for dependents, have a backup caregiver in place. Talk to your employer about working from home if possible.
Communicate: Share your plan with your family, friends and neighbours. Set up a buddy system to check in on each other by phone, email or text during times of need.
Stay informed: Get your information from reliable sources such as the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Nova Scotia Health Authority. For general information on Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19, please visit Canada.ca/coronavisrus and/or novascotia.ca/coronavirus, or call the toll free line at 1-833-784-4397. If the news media is making you feel anxious, take a break from it. We will regularly post up-to-date information on my Facebook page as it is available, so we encourage you to follow it, especially over the next month or two.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
We have made arrangements to have the constituency office staffed Monday–Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm throughout this pandemic. In the interest of public safety, we encourage people to contact us by phone (902-861-2311) or preferably by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We discourage people from walking in without an appointment, but can make arrangements for face-to-face meetings if absolutely necessary.
Hopefully, months from now, the extreme measures being taken by government, as well as the short-term sacrifices made by all Canadians, will have limited the spread of Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19.
Our government has made significant financial commitments to assist Canadians get through this pandemic on several fronts—EI accommodation for those affected, financial assistance to provinces for offsetting costs in dealing with this event, etc.—and will continue to do so as necessary over the coming weeks.
For those who are interested in additional measures relating to international travel, or economic measures we are implementing to respond to the challenges Canada may face as a result of this outbreak, I invite you to contact our office or follow our Facebook page, where we will provide further updates as they arise.
In closing, I want to thank my colleagues and our public health care workers that are facing a challenging set of circumstances. In particular, I want to thank my colleague and Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, for her work in leading Canada’s response to the Cᴏᴠɪᴅ-19 outbreak, as well as our Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, who has been leading the financial measures to assist Canadians throughout this event, including the $82B Aid Package announced on March 18. Our government will provide whatever support is required to offer a world-class response to this challenge.
We will get through this, together!