Hands up for common sense
Much has changed since my last article of a week ago. We now at this time (March 15th) have over 300 (confirmed and presumptive) cases of the coronavirus in Canada, five of them being in New Brunswick. Last week we had ~30 cases nationally and none in New Brunswick – a much different picture today.
We have been informed that 30-70% of our population will get the coronavirus. Of the 30-70%, many will have mild symptoms of fever, chills and cough and they will recover. It is the more vulnerable in our community whom we must take care of – those over 70 years of age and those who have other diseases such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, other immune system diseases or those receiving cancer therapy. For many of us, we need to practice the hygienic measures in order to protect those we love. It is in the spirit of generosity and love that we should practice these safety measures.
There has been much talk about ‘flattening the curve’ of the instances of the virus. As more and more people get the virus, the curve goes up. Flattening the curve means that by practicing the precautionary measures below, we will be slowing the rate that people will be getting ill. We will be able to reduce the number of those getting ill and spread it out over a longer period of time. This will put less stress on our hospitals, health care providers and the health care system in general. We will be slowing down the rate of infection so that we can better manage to take care of those who are ill.
We have been given much information in the media and by our governments, and day by day the severity of this global pandemic is indeed frightening to read and hear about. But I want to encourage us all that there is much that we can do. We must continue to practice good hygiene including:
- handwashing with soap and water frequently
- using hand sanitizer when out in public
- coughing into our sleeves
- staying home if ill
- keeping our hands away from our faces, and
- social distancing (maintaining two arm’s length in distance from each other).
This latest guidance of social distancing was advised by our New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer this week. We can do this; we can continue to be social with one another but exercise restraint.
Bishop David Edwards has directed that the administration of the common cup at Communion will no longer occur for the next while. We will not be shaking hands during the passing of the Peace. We can do all these things with ease and even with humour. We are a people of love and hope, and we will get through this with each other.
we MUST practice the hygiene measures
By now you should have read the message from the Dean informing you of the cancellation of all gatherings for our Cathedral members, except for worship. A group of us aka Virus Committee met on Saturday to prayerfully consider what we as a faith community should do with the guidance offered to us by our provincial and national experts and our government leaders; the direction and information given by Dean Hall is a result of that meeting.
For now we have decided to keep our Worship services open. It is important to us that those who feel comfortable and well should be able to pray and worship together. But if we are to do this, we MUST practice the hygiene measures – good handwashing, use of sanitizers in the Cathedral and maintaining social distance, not only side to side but front and back i.e. sitting several pews apart.
Our meetings, gatherings, Lenten studies have been cancelled. But we can still keep a Holy Lent on our own, through teleconference, phone conversations, by email and on our Cathedral website listening to the podcasts of our worship services. What is the cost of inconvenience now? We should practice good hygiene, social distancing and not attend meetings to prevent the spread of the virus for ourselves but especially for others.
Indeed, our weather is getting warmer. Spring is a week away. Get out and walk in the fresh air, enjoy listening to the birds. We don’t need to stay inside; in fact it is better that we are outside in the fresh air. This gives us an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the country in which we live.
We can do this as a faith community. A friend of mine in England has said to me in the past “God has got you!” and indeed He has us. He is right there beside us, walking along, and carrying us when needed. He gives us the “peace that passes all understanding.” He also tells us to “Be not afraid.” We are blessed to live in this country of Canada, with excellent health care. We may grumble about it on occasion, but we are blessed.
A parish nurse colleague, Cleo Cyr, sent me a card this past year with the following verses:
There is a Warrior protecting you...
a Shepherd directing you...
a Saviour keeping you...
a Priest blessing you...
a Father loving you!
Walk in His victory, trust in His care, lean on His strength, and live in His love.