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|Carolyn at the Boo Barns, 2018|
Fear is a powerful emotion.
I remember hearing the impressive interview of a mother who wanted Hallowe’en to be fright-free. No scary skeletons popping out of coffins. At our house, we felt that even gravestones were too upsetting for those who may have lost a loved one to COVID-19, overdose, suicide or other cause this year.
There will be no Trick-or-Treating, but there can be tricks: maybe homegrown magicians can wow the household with their newly honed skills! We won’t be able to open our doors to oooooh! and ahhhhh! at the fabulous costumes, but maybe we can post them online with the tag #HalloweenTOStPauls and compliment our princesses, pirates and astronauts online.
I hope this year we will see way more heroes without capes: nurses, doctors, grocery workers, truck drivers and teachers. As you plan your family Hallowe’en celebration, think about shopping locally for handmade treats: maybe order special cupcakes or desserts; design your own Hallowe’en pizza or get takeout from a local restaurant.
The good news is that we get an extra hour of sleep Saturday night. Sleep is our friend. I hope that as we enjoy the extra hour of sleep, we will redouble our efforts to do everything we can to stay well.
The second wave is here. Dr. De Villa and the all the public health and health care workers are counting on us to behave. I was disappointed to hear that contact tracing is being overwhelmed. In the past if an individual tested positive there would 4 or 5 contacts to trace, now often the person reports having been in contact with 40 or 50 persons who need to be contacted and tested.
We have to do our part. Stay home when you can, but especially and absolutely if you think you might be even a little sick. Physically distance. Wear a mask. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds. Downloading the CovidAlert app is really important and has been vetted by privacy experts. Get it now. It will let you know if you have been exposed to anyone who tests positive. This year more than ever, it is also so important that Canadians go and get their flu shot. Make an appointment to get yours ASAP.
Fear is indeed a powerful emotion. COVID-19 is teaching us all how to deal with our fears effectively and constructively. Prevention is the key. We did it before, we can do it again. Let’s flatten the curve so we can make sure the second wave is just that. Then with the help of vaccines, this nightmare ends.
Join Toronto-St. Paul’s elected officials from all orders of government to discuss how we can work together to ensure that we support those in need and create policies to #BuildBackBetter after the pandemic.
Visit facebook.com/carolyn.bennett.stpauls/live on November 22 at 3:00pm to watch the Summit Live. You do not need a Facebook account to view the broadcast. A recording of the event will be posted to our website.
As the situation is changing daily, please check the following websites for daily updates in Toronto and across Canada:
or download the Canada COVID-19 app.
The last few months have been difficult– so our government has put in place a number of measures to support Canadians. If you need support, visit Canada.ca/coronavirusbenefits and fill out the survey for a quick and trusted way to see what programs may be available to you.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Now more than ever, local businesses that make our main streets vibrant need our help. Find out what stores are open, or what restaurants are offering patio service, takeout and delivery. The following BIAs have put together lists of businesses that are still open, albeit doing things a bit differently. Let's do what we can to support our local businesses:
WELLNESS TOGETHER CANADA
COVID-19 has changed the daily lives of people around the world. During these difficult times, it is critical that Canadians be able to obtain credible information and access services to support their mental health and wellbeing. That's why our government launched a portal dedicated to mental wellness: Wellness Together Canada.
This portal will connect Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, and will make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
KID'S HELP PHONE
Although we’re far apart physically, our young people must feel help is close. That is why our government announced $7.5 million in funding for Kids Help Phone. Kids Help Phone is a remote mental health service that connects youth with professional counselling, information and referrals across Canada without any face-to-face contact. Contact Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, by texting 686868, or by going online to kidshelpphone.ca.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within communities and across the country, all Canadians are advised to:
STAY HOME AND AWAY FROM OTHERS IF YOU'RE FEELING ILL
As local governments continue to modify public health measures, you should continue to stay home and away from others if you have symptoms. If you start to develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself from others and contact your health care provider or local public health authority. Adjust your behaviours and routines based on their advice.
Wear a medical mask if you’re ill and will be in close contact with others or need to go out to access medical care. If a medical mask isn’t available, wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering.
HOW TO WEAR A NON-MEDICAL FACE MASK PROPERLY
Health Canada has released a video showing how to properly wear a non-medical mask or face covering to limit the spread of COVID-19 when physical distancing is difficult. Watch it here:
The constituency office is closed to walk-in visits but my team and I are here for you and continue to serve residents of Toronto-St. Paul's. Our office is fully operational by appointment, phone and email. Call us at 416-952-3990, or email [email protected] for assistance in any federal matter.