One year ago today, a local emergency was declared in Chatham-Kent as a global pandemic was declared over the COVID-19 virus.
One year later, over 12 000 local residents have been vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.
And in that year in between, our community has learned a lot about itself, and stayed connected to each other in ways that are at once familiar and new.
Public Health is a practice. It is a practice that prevents disease, addresses health inequities and promotes health across the population. From the moment a local emergency was declared, a dynamic system of health care workers, social service collaborators, and community members shifted their focus to respond to this pandemic. Countless hours of behind the scenes work, and compassionate care, have gone into making sure that our community is in the best position it can be in order to be where we are today, ready to roll up our sleeves and receive this vaccine.
One of the many teams of people working quietly behind the scenes is our CK Public Health case and contact investigators. Tasked with contacting positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts of those cases, this humble team has been COVID-19 focused since day one.
The important practice of contact investigation is not new to CK Public Health. We have a team dedicated to keeping our community safe from infectious and communicable diseases, and their practices have been in place long before the COVID-19 virus arrived.
During the pandemic, our case and contact investigators have responded to an unprecedented volume of calls and outreach. At just over 1400 total cases since last March, our team has made thousands of calls to members of our community. For many, we could connect with them multiple times to help them learn how to self isolate, arrange resources that they may need for essential supports, and to check in to see how they were doing. The non-judgmental approach with which they enter each call, is a testament to their genuine care for the community. They understand they are making calls that people often do not want to receive. Preventing the spread of a contagious virus takes a dedicated team effort.
We are all ready to see our world shift to a place where we can be together again in ways that are familiar, in ways that we know, and in ways that we miss. It is the humble and essential work of our Public Health staff that will continue to help get us there.
But as has been the case since March 13, 2020, we need your help too.
We are all in this together. Every single one of us.
Public Health is a community practice, and our actions – particularly over the next few months – will not only dictate how we are able to be together this summer, but beyond, and how we can imagine a future together on the other side of all this.
Let’s remember to:
- Keep 2 metres physical distance from those outside your household
- Avoid non essential travel and gatherings
- Wash your hands frequently or use 70% alcohol hand sanitizer
- Wear a face covering
- Stay home if you are feeling unwell
Our actions now affect our ability to access care later.
Our actions now affect our ability to live future moments that feel like those we love from the past.
Our actions now set us up to imagine, and realize, a future that is bright.
What we do right now matters, Chatham-Kent.
One year ago today a local pandemic emergency was declared. One year later we are vaccinating this community.
May we think about each other, and keep each other safe, so that we can land on March 13 2022, and write the story of how we did it. How we made a stronger, more compassionate, more connected Chatham-Kent.
This is something we can do.