By Letter to the Editor on November 18, 2020.
I am deeply troubled by the lack of action by Albertans and, on a local level, Hatters regarding COVID-19.
I am one of three registered midwives in this city, and I care for some of the most vulnerable.
It is an absolute joy to catch babies in this community, both in and out of hospital, and I proudly wear a mask, sometimes for eight, 10, 12 hours straight.
While it is uncomfortable, it’s worth it for everyone’s safety.
I know that if I contract COVID or must quarantine, my partner midwife’s workload will double, and I’ll have put my pregnant Medicine Hat clients at risk.
With the recent increase in cases, we are stepping up our protocols to protect our clients, but there is only so much we can do.
A successful COVID response must be a community effort.
This morning I walked down to a busy local shop for something and noticed the employees, who were serving food, were not masked.
I was the only customer and only person in the entire shop wearing a mask. This, on a day when Medicine Hat has entered the watch zone.
This is unacceptable and terrifying to me as an essential worker.
This is a desperate plea: Med Hatters, I beg you to wear masks in public places; to wash your hands, to limit your social circles, physically distance in public and to get tested if you feel sick. Please.
In local online groups, I see anti-mask rhetoric and discussion about our freedoms being taken away.
I see COVID-19 compared to the flu (it’s not – as a former nurse with past experience with influenza, please just believe me).
COVID has long-lasting effects on our bodies that are not yet understood.
I know it is an inconvenience but please think of the nurses, doctors, long-term-care workers, seniors, pregnant people and midwives and wear that mask in public places.
Think of our economy, a simple mask and frequent hand washing will help us in the long run avoid shutdowns. Masks work to your benefit, just like seatbelts. They save lives.
This is our chance to set an example of love for our neighbour.
This is our chance to champion public safety.
This is our chance to avoid catastrophe.
Would you wear a mask in that Tim Horton’s line? In the Safeway?
Would you limit your social circles, wash your hands, and physically distance in public? Would you inconvenience yourself a bit more for the sake of your neighbour?
For the sake of the essential workers who can’t stay home; for people like myself who can only protect themselves so much? We are counting on you.
Please consider my plea, before it’s too late.
I fear it already is.