Hello Ward 6 –
This is a very different St. Patrick’s Day, as we all get accustomed to significant changes. I am amazed by friends, neighbours and strangers who are reaching out to support one another and those in need in our community, as we all cope with the outbreak of Covid-19. This is a monumental challenge, but together we will get through it, and no doubt rise like never before when it is over. We need to keep reminding ourselves that it is temporary.
As the Covid-19 pandemic planning changes by the hour, I wanted to ensure you are aware of some key actions and advice.
The most important thing we can do right now is slow down the spread of the virus and make sure our neighbours have a support system. First and foremost, we need to limit contact with others. Postpone, cancel or move your event. Stay home as much as possible. This isn’t for “you” specifically, but for the collective “we”. All of the evidence to date shows that most cases of Covid-19 will be mild. However, for those who will require medical attention, it is imperative that we flatten the growth curve of Covid-19, to ensure our hospitals have capacity. The decisions we make will have a direct impact on our neighbours, health care providers and those most vulnerable.
City Council has set up a daily teleconference to stay up-to-date and ensure all essential services are maintained. The following non-essential services have been closed: leisure centres, libraries and museums. The province is closing all schools, effective this Friday, and parents are encouraged to take their children out of school as soon as possible. Universities and Sask Poly Tech are closed, and more closures are anticipated.
The Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan has made the following order pursuant to Section 45 of The Public Health Act effective Monday, March 16:
- No public gathering of over 250 people in any one room take place. This does not include settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings, such as schools, universities or
- No events of over 50 people with speakers or attendees who have travelled internationally in the last 14 days take
- Retail locations and Faith based organizations are exempt, however, they should have measures (such as crowd size monitoring) that support safe social (physical) distancing and should seek guidance from the local medical health officer if
- People who have travelled outside the province in the previous 14 days or have acute respiratory or flu-like symptoms should avoid visiting long term care homes or hospitals
I have heard from a number of residents who are concerned about paying bills and mortgages, as more places close their businesses or cancel events. Please know that our city is working with other municipalities, along with provincial and federal governments to create a comprehensive approach to support people during this crisis. The federal government is expected to announce direct support for individuals and businesses, and changes to income tax filing later this week.
As we limit social interactions and practice physical distancing for the health and safety of our community, let’s remember to support others. Last week, Saskatoon’s medical health officer talked about a buddy system. Mayor Clark outlines the approach in this link:
It’s likely easier for all of us to ask for help if it’s not about “us” and in a very real sense, it is not. Offering help and asking for help will give us the best chance for better outcomes during this crisis.
For those on Facebook, check out: Caremongering. It’s another example of our community coming together to support each other. Also, if you can, please consider dropping off food or other needed items at the many organizations in our city that are supporting the most vulnerable.
I want to give a huge shout out to Saskatoon’s Emergency Measures Organization and the Incident Command Team at City Hall. They have been working around the clock over the past number of days to ensure we are making the best evidence-based decisions to keep our community safe. They have truly been outstanding, and it is comforting to know that many of the health care professionals have been pandemic planning for decades. We are fortunate to be in exceptionally capable hands to navigate Covid-19. Thank you to all of our health care workers who are making sacrifices to support our community. Deepest thanks to everyone who is on the front lines of this crisis, including those who are keeping our grocery stores and pharmacies open. Let’s do our part to help them.
Remember, this is temporary. We are in it together and we will get through it.