Coronavirus update 14, April 15, 2020 | staffing changes, live events and AMAs, be nice to each other, more

Hello! I hope you had a restful weekend and avoided your friends and family per public health direction! We are now in week five of the COVID-19 crisis in Halifax, and a lot of folks are getting a bit…. tired of it all. I get it, and share the frustration.

I think the good news is that we are seeing nearby provinces with similar situations planking the curve. News of no new cases in six days in PEI and no new cases yesterday in Newfoundland and Labrador shows that social distancing and staying home works, and stops the spread of this disease.

In Nova Scotia and Halifax we have not see that change in our trend lines. Yesterday was the worst day yet. I am still hopeful, but for this to work, people need to respect the request to stay home and limit trips, no matter how tempting it is to go to a beach or a cottage as the weather turns nicer.

A friend of mine said today that my email today should just say “we all need to be nice to one another” and she is right. I urge you to take a moment and make a plan to call your friends, Facetime your Mum, check in with people you might not normally talk to, check on your coworkers and associates, and just be tell them you miss them.

Everyone is feeling stressed, everyone is feeling frustrated, and talking to others can help ground us all in what matters, which is we are making these sacrifices now to keep each other safe and to plank the curve.

Thoughts with colleagues throughout HRM
My thoughts are with the many seasonal, casual, & part time workers who are not being brought back to work at HRM this summer because of COVID-19. This is tough for my colleagues, and I am really sorry that these jobs cannot be offered right now.

This situation is different from what some wanted and I do not support laying people based on a target of cutting taxes, we need a province wide targeted relief program for property tax.

While some money will be saved from these staff changes, a huge chunk of these jobs are tied to summer programs where we also are losing revenue by not offering the camp or course, so it ends up being a wash financially.  What savings HRM sees from this won’t be enough to offset the $4-5 million a month in decreased fare, parking and ticket revenue that is already gone.

Luckily the Feds changed CERB so more of these folks will qualify. That is good, but I hope we will see many of them back at work as soon as conditions change.

Outreach and staying in touch 
I’m going to try some new ways of staying in touch with residents, using social media and the tools available in these physically distant times.  None of these are specifically COVID-19 related, as what I am hearing from folks is that they want to hear about pretty much anything else

Mental Health 
For folks who are looking for help, I’ve been asked to share that many psychologists in private practice are continuing to offer services, even though their physical offices are closed. The Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia has a very good website (https://apns.ca/find-a-psychologist/) and there is much information concerning Telepsychology (https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology#ui-id-1) on the site, including the ability to search for psychologists who provide this service.

Staying Safe While Getting Outdoors
“You may have heard about recent studies that suggest that our social distancing measures appear to be making a difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in King County. That’s great news, but it comes with an important caution: if we are to succeed in decreasing and delaying the outbreak peak (in other words, flattening the curve), we must continue to practice social distancing, even when outdoors. The threat of a rebound of illness that could endanger people and overwhelm the healthcare system remains for the foreseeable future if we let up too soon.” Article here: https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/04/08/staying-safe-while-getting-outdoors/

What it looks like when we get to go out doors
A neighbour wrote “I thought you might be interested in this article. It contains some practical ideas about how we could reinstate limited access to public parks when the efforts of flattening the curve start showing results.” https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/closing-parks-ineffective-pandemic-theater/609580/