How you can help during the coronavirus pandemic

Mar 18 2020, 5:44 am

The coronavirus pandemic has radically transformed so many aspects of Canadians’ day-to-day life, and while it may be easy to feel hopeless in an event like this, what we need more than ever right now is to help one another.

If you or someone you know feels they have coronavirus symptoms, here is a list of things you can do.

If you are able to, there’s also no shortage of ways you can help others, and yourself, not feel helpless at a time like this.

Connect with a friend

In a time where we are all being asked to stay home, some are saying it may be better to call it physical distancing instead of social distancing, to encourage you to stay connected with friends and family in other ways, especially with how uncertain things have been for people in a variety of professions.

Text chats are effective and quick, but there is a limit to how long someone can go without talking to or seeing another person when isolated. Luckily, there are great options for online video and voice calls so you don’t run up your phone bills.

Here are six free video and voice call apps available online — and how to get them.

Don’t underestimate the power of picking up the phone and checking in on someone you know.

Donate Blood

According to Canadian Blood Services, there has been a spike in appointment cancellations amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite the continuing need for the donations by patients.

“Canadian Blood Services operates a national blood inventory where products are regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs. The inventory is currently strong, but the recent increase in cancellations is worrying, particularly in light of the blood shortages already being reported in other countries affected by COVID-19,” said a release from Canadian Blood Services.

The organization says it is still safe to donate blood because of thorough cleaning and infection control procedures at all facilities.

“All prospective donors are also carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones. This screening occurs during both appointment booking and upon arrival at the donor centre or event. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood and are instructed not to visit.”

If you are healthy and able to donate blood, that is one way you can help others during this trying time, and more information can be found online.

Donate to a food bank

Food Banks Canada anticipates a shortage of food and supplies across the country due to increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, food banks will likely be strapped for volunteers as people adhere to social distancing advice and stay home.

Food Banks Canada CEO Chris Hatch is encouraging Canadians to make monetary donations online so their local food banks can re-stock on essential items to get clients through this trying time.

The national organization is trying to raise $150 million as food banks across Canada shift to pre-packed food hampers for delivery to minimize contact between clients and volunteers.

Support a local business

You can support local businesses that may be struggling due to a lack of business by buying gift cards online or ordering takeout to support them.

DoorDashUber EatsSkip the Dishes, and Foodora all have a plethora of local spots on their roster right now, and we expect many restaurants that don’t normally offer takeout/delivery to start offering these services temporarily, so keep an eye on your favourite eateries’ social accounts for announcements.

If you can’t make it into a spot to eat or shop, consider buying a gift card online at a local boutique or eatery to use at a later time as an alternative.

Stop hoarding supplies

Numerous government officials have made it clear in press conferences in the last few days that there is no shortage of food and supplies on hand for residents. Think of the seniors, the parents of young children, and immunocompromised folks who may not be able to rush in to get everything they need before the shelves are completely wiped out. As of right now, there’s no need to overstock supplies.

Donate to the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has developed a COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the coronavirus.

According to the WHO, the fund enables the organization to:

  • Send essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to frontline health workers
  • Enable all countries to track and detect the disease by boosting laboratory capacity through training and equipment.
  • Ensure health workers and communities everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need.
  • Accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of lifesaving vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments

If this is something you have the means to do, it’s a way you can feel like you’re making a difference.

Do the “Stay at Home Challenge”

Social media has been particularly abuzz, with people sharing how they are living during this time of social distancing, including the #StayatHomeChallenge on Twitter. Whether you’re taking to Twitter, IG, or even Tik Tok, go ahead and laugh at the shenanigans people are up to while safely isolated within their homes — including raising a toast to themselves or juggling a roll of toilet paper.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, coronaviruses are defined as a large family of viruses that circulate both in humans and animals.

There are strains of coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans and caused severe illnesses in humans in the past, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

In order to combat the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a telephone meeting with premiers on Friday, during which they discussed the $1 billion COVID 19 response fund. The fund includes support for the province’s health care systems.