Friday, April 3, 2020


For future reference...

(This post is for Emma, Kate and Joey, so they can get a glimpse of what life is like in April 2020. There are some facts, a few words from a local doc, the COVID-19 scoreboard, and a Facebook post of the friend of a friend who's living in Wuhan, China.)

I saw this posted on Facebook, so I cut n pasted it here. 
NOT totally confident in these facts, but I'm too lazy to fact check. 
(Also, these facts may be true for one area, but not for all areas.)

  • Gas prices at a record low 84.9 in Langley today. (A few weeks ago it was about $1.75 per litre.)
  • School cancelled March 15, 2020 - indefinitely (School buildings were CLOSED, but online teaching/home schooling is the new normal. For all education levels.)
  • Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers 2m (6ft) from each other. (Some have tape, others have had decals printed. Very organized. Very civilized.)
  • Limited number of people inside stores, therefore lineups outside the store doors.(I haven't had to line up outside yet. But I usually shop in the evening, after work.)
  • Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed. 
  • Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
  • Entire sports seasons cancelled.
  • Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events - cancelled.
  • Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings - cancelled.
  • No masses, churches are closed.(Church buildings are closed for services and programs, but online services started up immediately.)
  • No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 5 or more. 
  • No socializing with anyone outside of your home.
  • Children's outdoor play parks are closed.
  • Social-distancing is a thing. 
  • Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers. (I'm not sure if this is true in BC. See interview with Chilliwack doctor, below...)
  • Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.(Again, I'm not sure this is happening HERE. For sure it is in other parts of the world.)
  • Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towel no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer, no flour, no bread and other dry food.(I have not made a panic purchase yet. And I have had no trouble buying all of the above listed items. Mind you, I haven't shopped this week...)
  • Shelves are bare. (I haven't yet been in grocery store with bare shelves. But I think things are different in Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack, than they are in Vancouver. Clint has observed many empty shelves.)
  • Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
  • Government closes the border to all non-essential travel, calls Canadians home and makes it mandatory to self isolate for 14 days.
  • Fines are established for breaking the rules.
  • AB Kenny Govt uses education funding to temporarily fund COVID 19 emergency funds.
  • Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
  • Press conferences daily from Prime Minister Trudeau.
  • Chief Medical Officer Dr Bonnie Henry gives daily updates on new cases, outbreaks in care homes, hospitalizations, ICU patients, recoveries, and deaths.
  • Government incentives to stay home.
  • Barely anyone in the street or on the roads.
  • People wearing masks and gloves outside. (I go for walks everyday, and haven't seen anyone with gloves and maybe only 5% of the other walkers have masks on. I think in other countries this may be truer.)
  • Essential service workers are terrified to go to work. Protective shields are set up at grocery/store cashiers.
  • Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families, many staying in hotels to avoid exposure to others.
  • 1,000,000 applications for Employment Insurance as people go without work. (I'm coming back to verify this as I heard 2.1M today)

They say it started in Wuhan, China. Hundreds of thousands affected, dead, dying, critically ill, dying alone as no visitors are permitted
Many recovered.

This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020.

TODAY, an interview with a Chilliwack Emergency Doctor:

Dr. Marc Greidanus is a front line health worker facing the COVID-19 crisis as an emergency room (ER) doctor at Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH).
As a service to the community, he agreed to speak with The Progress to share some key information.
Progress: What is essential for people to know?
Dr. Greidanus: The most important message from our perspective: Stay home. Wash your hands. Stop everything except work and groceries. Go for walks but only with your own household members.
P: Have you seen COVID-19 at CGH? People were told to assume it is already here. Is it?
G: Yes, we are seeing COVID cases in the CGH ER. They are not overwhelming the system. But if we are seeing the sickest patients in our ER, then novel coronavirus is absolutely circulating in our community.
P: Is CGH really reay for what is coming in terms of intubation and ventilators?
G: Yes. Fraser Health has done a great job of making room in our hospital and the system is prepared. Doctors, nurses, management and allied health professionals such as RTs are all cooperating to an amazing degree. I’ve never seen anything like it. The SARS experience has given B.C. a head start in planning. And we are being protected because the citizens of Chilliwack are following social distancing guidelines and it is working!
P: Should there be more testing done?
G: To be clear we are not withholding tests. B.C. is testing at capacity. We are using that capacity to test healthcare workers, long-term care residents and close contacts of known positive patients. This is enough to give us reliable data. As more testing capacity becomes available we will test more broadly.
P: People are a little confused on the lethality. Isn’t COVID-19 just a bad flu?
G: While it is true that novel coronavirus and the resulting illness (COVID-19) is not as lethal as ebola or SARS, it is still much more dangerous than influenza. The risk is highest in older people and those with other health problems but the biggest risk is to the integrity of our health care system. Social distancing is the only way that we can get this virus under control. That means cancelling everything except work and groceries and staying by yourself or with your household.
P: Should people exercise outdoors?
G: Yes it is safe to go outside. Walking around town, by the river or on our many trails is very low risk and Chilliwack is blessed with wide open spaces. Please be considerate and always maintain a distance of at least two metres (six feet) between yourself and others. Control your kids. Control your dog. Stick to your local areas and don’t take risks.
P: How long is this nightmare going to last?
G: I believe this pandemic will be affecting our daily lives until a vaccine or treatment is widely available, which could be 18 months. However if we get it right the most severe restrictions only need to be in place for another month or two. Then as we develop the capacity to test more people we can gradually reduce restrictions and observe the results.
P: How is the stress of being a healthcare worker during a pandemic?
G: For us in Emerg, this is our turf. I have a high risk tolerance. Those of us who work in emergency medicine are there for a reason. Personally I am not particularly stressed about my health or the health of my family. When I do fret, it is about our systems and my individual patients. I want to do my best for people and I don’t want to see the healthcare system overwhelmed. Also I am worried about the long-term effects on our already isolated society. My thoughts are with the grocery store clerks and cleaners and other front line workers who never signed up for this risk. But we are all in it together now.
P: Any final thoughts for readers who’ve made it this far?
G: Yes. Stay home. It’s working. And please don’t worry. Your job is to stay home and wash your hands. You can do it. Our government is stable. Our systems are strong. Canada has got this. B.C. has got this. CGH and the local healthcare community have got this.
I check this 'report card' site everyday instead of following the news. The numbers get updated every 24 hours. They may or may not be accurate, as alot depends on the integrity of each country to truthfully submit numbers. Also, "New Cases" is a touchy subject - these might be cases that are confirmed because of testing. But there is also a massive number of folks who may be sick, but haven't been tested. There's no way of knowing THOSE numbers. Regardless, these are the numbers that are accepted as accurate. 

Today, from Wuhan. The epicenter of COVID-19.
WUHAN. It's day 69 of quarantine, day 45 of lockdown in our complex.
The light is bright at the end of the tunnel, and it's sponsored by McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and KFC. They're open, and they're delivering.
We're still locked in our complex, though many are back to work due to their special work passes. The city is scheduled to open on April 8, but it also requires a pass to be able to leave then. We’re still not sure if we can get a pass, mainly because we're foreigners and don't have "essential" jobs.

We’ve had more new signs of life this past week. They opened one additional driving gate at our complex, meaning two of the usual four gates are now open. It's really busy outside, with folks everywhere, it seems. Shipping is in full swing, and we can order anything we need with 1-2 day delivery. Also, food deliveries have really fired up this week. I've vowed to remain a quarantine purist, not wanting to taste outside food until I can eat it in the restaurant. I may change my mind if this goes much beyond April 8. We’re all tired of eating at home. It’s been 73 days since we’ve eaten out, not that I’m counting.

Aside from wanting a little restaurant reprieve, I'm in no hurry to leave. In fact, I’ve been mourning the end of quarantine, now that I know it’s coming. I’ve come to love this quieter life, and I dread the return to a faster pace, consumerism, and overscheduling.
My constant prayer request has been that I don’t waste this time. Quarantine has been a very special gift of time for me. At first we had too much time on our hands. Now, we’ve adapted to our new normal and have figured out how to be more productive while all together at home. Most days we’re just busy, with all the roles and hats we wear. My husband and I both work for our school. I am also a university student (still). We (okay, mostly Edgar) also teach our son, where we are in our 8th week of online school. We have definitely found our groove, and my prayer is that you find yours soon.
If you need a cheerleader or encourager or someone to pray for you, please let me know. In Wuhan, we’re on the other end of the bell curve and have felt much of what you may be feeling now. My husband and I believe our purpose with Facebook right now is to share from our experiences so we can encourage others and offer hope. If you would like to debate politics, argue the credibility of China, or provoke argument in another way, please do that elsewhere. I will not engage.
One of our company leaders just shared this great word, which I’ll close with: “There is a lot of fake news floating around. None of us can know what will happen next week or next month. Even in the most terrible situations you can end up in, God is with you. He will never abandon you. Don’t ever give up that hope. He is a good God.”
Philippians 3:7,10

Three things I'm thankful for today:
1. I have a job, and I'm able to work from home. I know I am one of the lucky ones. Having a daily 9- 5:30 gig adds structure and purpose to my days.
2. My family, my mom, my people, are all healthy. The virus hasn't hit close to home (yet). It still feels like something 'out there'.

3. I am thankful that Max just celebrated another year of being clean/sober. So very proud of him.
4. I am filled with peace today, confident that my life is in His hands.
5. I am grateful for the changing of the seasons. Winter is giving way to Spring, and I am a fan. 

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