For the second time in as many weeks, first responders circled Cariboo Memorial Hospital Sunday evening, Sept. 19, to pay tribute to, and lift spirits of health care workers inside.
We witnessed this at the beginning of the pandemic, which seems like a lifetime ago. During those drive-by and pot-banging salutes to health care workers we all seemed united in supporting our critical workers and just surviving COVID-19 – apart but together. Hospital staff were busy then preparing for the worst but for the most part, our region got off better than others in terms of case counts and deaths.
We haven’t been so lucky during this fourth wave, and that intense strain showed on the faces of our exhausted hospital workers, who wiped away tears during the brief moment they stepped outside the emergency room to wave at the trucks going by.
It could be sheer exhaustion from the work that had them emotional. But, you know, it probably doesn’t help if they have read any of the disparaging comments on social media targetting healthcare workers, government officials and really anyone these keyboard-warriors can get their hands around.
Unfortunately those voices often drowned out everyone else, especially in the absence of any real information from the health authorities. We hear rumours of COVID-19 patients being sent out, or even dying because of the virus, but that information is impossible to come back through official channels.
We should be able to hear at least some of the experiences from health care workers. We should know how strained our system is in a way that makes this experience real, and not just something that can be spun or denied.
B.C.’s health ministry is transferring severely ill COVID-19 patients from the Northern Health region to southern hospitals to deal with significantly higher rates of infection and the pressure on smaller facilities.