I’m baaaaack. Thank you to Jean for writing a fantastic article on the benefits of fishing. That was quite a photo of Jean with a 25-pound trout, wasn’t it?

Like it or not, when Little Johnny and his sister are home it affects a parent’s ability to work, to volunteer and to do things like going shopping. That means we pretty well have to have our kids in school in the fall. Eschia, take it easy eh!

If we want schools to open in a few months, and to stay open, we need to keep Covid-19 infection rates at zero. The best way to do that is to keep most people out of the NWT. Well yaaaaaa!

All re-openings in the south will likely increase community transmission to some degree. But we have zero infections, so we want to keep it like that.

Why the big concern? Well, if there are too many infections, then daycares and day homes close. If there’s no childcare, it’s hard to go to work.

Many people know it’s not easy to work from home with the kids there. Other people can’t work from home, so can’t work at all if Little Johnny’s home and there’s nobody to look after him.

And things are changing with the coronavirus.

More young people are now testing positive for the virus than in the early days of the outbreak, and experts are warning that they can spread the virus even though they may not become severely ill. Not cool.

But guess what? It appears that younger patients are also getting sicker than before.

Dr. Matt Heinz of Tucson, Arizona recently wrote, “Over this past weekend, the ages of my most seriously ill Covid-19 patients (requiring supplemental oxygen and aggressive respiratory support- none were on ventilators thankfully) were 27, 45, 24 and 32 years.” Whoa!

Younger folk listen up. These very sick patients were 24! 27! 32! and 45 years of age!

NWT Medical Association letter

Basically, the NWT Medical Association agrees with me. They sent a letter to the Department of Health and Social Services which states the GNWT’s guidelines for Covid-19 are “harmful,” and in particular social distancing.

The Association’s president, Dr. Andrew Kotaska, signed the letter which listed several harms including:
• increased domestic violence
• increased apprehensions of at-risk children,
• increased substance abuse and related hospital admissions
• poor access to help for other medical conditions,
• delayed diagnosis of cancer, infections, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension
• financial stress
• increasing anxiety from fear out of proportion to the risk of being harmed by Covid-19
• decreased mobility of elders who are being kept at home
• substandard palliative and acute care due to global visitor restrictions
• negative impacts on physical and mental health;
• decreased access to social, emotional, professional and group support;
• decreased quality of education and safe shelter for children in schools;

Dr. Kotaska says it is no longer necessary to do social distancing because ‘It is unlikely that social distancing restrictions within the NWT have prevented one case of Covid-19.”

Dr. Kotaska says the measures were “prudent insurance” but we haven’t had a case for over two months. He says all we need to do is continue restricting access into the NWT, have arriving people go into self-isolation, test people who have symptoms, respect travellers’ self-isolation and minimize our travel to places with lots of Covid-19.

He says we should use Iceland’s approach which is to give arriving travellers an option to stay in quarantine for 14 days or get tested at the airport. He says we should consider testing again three days later to compensate for negative tests. If it’s clear, let them go out before the 14 days are up.

Yes, I totally agree with this. Better yet, why not just test and take everybody’s temperature at the airport, then test them again. I got tested in Edmonton and it was a swab from the mouth.

Easy peasy.

He also says we need to encourage people who have symptoms to get tested right away. Good luck with that in the cold and flu season. That’ll be over half of our population several times a winter.

Other than that, he says we should open up the territories full blast to avoid the harms described above.

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but if things totally open up, I’ll still be physical distancing and washing my hands or using hand sanitizer after I touch things. I’ll probably also use a mask when I’m too close to people.

So ya, keep most people out of the NWT and test everybody that comes in, whether at the border or at the airports.
After all, we gotta keep the kids safe so the parents can work.

Roy Erasmus

Roy Erasmus Sr. Is a certified wellness counsellor who survived heart disease and a former member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

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