We have to say we are impressed with the people of Hay River as they contend with the coronavirus.

As has been shown over the years, the people of this community can pull together in the face of an emergency, whether flooding during spring breakup, or the threat of a wildfire, or even last year’s fire at Mackenzie Place which displaced over a hundred people.

However, a pandemic is a different thing altogether.

Still, the people of Hay River have shown the same spirit to stand together to face the new challenge.

We’re not talking about government, which is doing what it feels it has to do.

We’re talking about the people, who have stepped forward to respond to the coronavirus in a multitude of creative and inspiring ways.

Just think about what has happened in the last few weeks.

Birthday parades have been organized on Fridays so young people and adults can be celebrated, even if they can’t get together for the traditional parties because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Make Noise, Hay River gets people out in front of their homes every Saturday evening to sound off as a way to express thanks to front-line workers, who have kept the community running while most people stay at home.

Other special activities organized by community residents include two photographers taking free photos of people while they self-isolate at their homes, churches offering prayers and spiritual encouragement, special online programming and challenges from NWT Centennial Library, a food collection for the needy at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, and much more.

All of them are important, because they keep up the spirit of the community as it fights an invisible enemy.

Some might say that Hay River has not yet faced the worst of coronavirus, since there has been no confirmed case of Covid-19 in the community as of April 18. (And as we say every time we write about Covid-19, we hope there is still no confirmed case when you read this.)

We believe that the people of Hay River – the vast majority, anyway – have been behaving as if the coronavirus is here. And of course, no one can say for sure whether it is or it isn’t.

Whether it is here or not doesn’t take away from the worry that you hear from people, especially seniors who are the most vulnerable and even moreso if they have certain other existing health concerns.

And since there has been a confirmed case in Fort Resolution, the pandemic is awfully close, since some consider that South Slave community a suburb of Hay River, even though it is 150 km away.

The people of Hay River have been staying home, businesses are closed, and more and more people are starting to wear facemasks.

The vast majority obviously feel like the coronavirus may be here, and are taking the necessary precautions.

In that worrying and even dangerous situation, it is inspiring to see so many people step forward to help and encourage other residents in this difficult time.

We are impressed by the people of Hay River, but not really surprised.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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