Here's how to support frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic

Mar 23 2020, 11:05 am

With the number of cases COVID-19 climbing in Canada, frontline healthcare and hospital workers are bracing for the worst as the pandemic rages on.

If you’re stuck at home and wanting to support your local nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff, as well as daycare workers or grocery store employees, here are a few things you can do.

Stay home. Seriously. If you’re feeling ill, displaying symptoms, or not in a medical emergency, stay home. Keep your children home too, if you can. This helps keep resources at your local hospital dedicated to medical emergencies and those that are adversely affected by coronavirus symptoms.

If you are experiencing symptoms, call your local health hotline to be assessed and schedule a test for coronavirus. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

Stay home. That’s not a typo; it’s so important that it’s on here twice. Authorities across the country are emphasizing the need for physical distancing during the pandemic, keeping one to two metres (three to six feet, around the length of a bicycle) between yourself and others.

Don’t go out to high-traffic parks, don’t go to any gatherings, and don’t go to your friend’s house. This will help reduce the amount of people exposed to the virus, thus reducing the strain on healthcare and your frontline friends.

You CAN go out to large, open parks, out for walks with appropriate distancing, and out for necessary errands, though authorities recommend you keep those trips to a minimum or get groceries and necessities delivered.

Donate. Check with your local hospital or healthcare facility to see if they’re accepting donations, and donate what you can. Masks, hand sanitizer, and other personal protective equipment are necessary to keep healthcare workers safe and healthy during this crisis.

Check with your local emergency shelters to see if and where they’re taking donations. Hygiene items like hand soap, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes are a good start, and donations of clothes, laundry soap, menstrual products, food — alongside monetary donations — are always being welcomed to ease the strain.

Feed them. Speaking of delivery, any emergency room and hospital ward would welcome coffee, food, and treats. Support local businesses by ordering delivery to the emergency room, or do a curbside drop-off for your neighbourhood nurse or grocery store worker.

Let them rest. It’s a stressful time, and you may want to call your friend who works in the ER to ask them about the coronavirus cases they have, or to ask what you should do about that weird rash you’ve got. Look to your local health authorities websites for information, call your general practitioner instead (if the rash is actually serious), and let your frontline friends rest during their time off.

Check in on them. Ask them what they need. Text them on their days off to see how they are, and let them know that you’re there if they need to talk. Make sure they’re doing okay; a lot of frontline workers are going through some extreme stress right now, especially those in jobs that can’t shutdown like those working in grocery stores, pharmacies, the postal service, and emergency shelters.

Keep yourself healthy. The less people who get sick, the easier it will be on all frontline workers. Washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds, practicing physical distancing, staying home, and following the guidelines that local authorities have set out will help to reduce the strain on healthcare, avoid getting frontline workers sick, and help to flatten the curve of infections as the pandemic continues.