People wear face masks as they wait to enter a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Monday, September 7, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Editorial: Living with COVID-19

It is important to continue to follow safety guidelines

Last week the City of Williams Lake announced an employee who works at the rec complex tested positive for COVID-19.

That likely feels like a lot of weight on one person’s shoulders, considering Dr. Bonnie Henry has taken the approach for the first six months of the pandemic to protect the privacy of those who test positive for COVID-19 for fear of reprisal.

While we sympathize with the staffer, and wish them a speedy recovery, it’s a bit of relief to be able to say the virus is actually here, even if just for the mere confirmation that we haven’t been doing all this social/physical distancing for nothing.

Families have been separated from loved ones for months and businesses have taken a major hit to their bottom line. Our government is carrying a debt load that we likely won’t see paid off in our lifetime due to COVID-19.

But, our country and our province have been clearly making the right decisions to keep everyone safe and our economy afloat.

On Labour Day Dr. Tam urged that we all need to maintain these public health measures ­— remaining two metres apart, washing hands and wear masks — to keep COVID-19 on the “slow-burn path that we need” into fall.

Before you decide to attend an event or activity, Tam said remember to ask yourself some quick-check questions about your personal risk factors and the setting of the event or activity:

First, ask yourself two questions about your personal risk, and that of your household or contact bubble:

Are you at high risk of developing serious complications if you become infected or if you would have to self-isolate, would this seriously disrupt your upcoming plans, priorities and responsibilities?

Are there people at high risk of developing serious complications of COVID-19 in your household or in-person contact bubble that you could unintentionally infect?

Then ask yourself two questions about the location of the event:

Has the host made changes to the location to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including making it easy to maintain a two-metre physical distance from others while indoors and requiring people to wear face masks?

Are you able to adjust your plan at the event or activity, for example by stepping away if it gets crowded, wearing a mask and washing your hands?

Asking yourself these questions can help you determine if the event or activity is appropriate for you to attend.

Lastly, know there are things you can do before you go to an event that can reduce your risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to your loved ones:

If you have any symptoms, even mild ones, stay home, stay away from others, and get tested;

Keep up with effective public health practices like physical distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask or face covering and;

Limit the number of locations and social gatherings you attend in the days and weeks before a planned important event to reduce the risk of spread during the event.

As our children head back into the schools, and cold weather brings us indoors, we really all need to do our part to protect our physical health and the health of our economy to weather this pandemic.

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