Signs in Homer, Alaska, offer inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Armstrong-Homer News)

Signs in Homer, Alaska, offer inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Armstrong-Homer News)

COLUMN: COVID-19 pandemic hits home

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

I can’t wait for the day when COVID-19 is an historical reference.

It took a recent “staycation” for me to realize just how much of a psychological impact having to deal with everything COVID on a near daily basis was having.

Since March 2020, we in the newsroom have been subjected to a steady deluge of coronavirus 2019-related information, from the near daily updates and recommendations from the province, to the impacts and responses at the regional and municipal levels and subsequently how all that affected, and continues to have an effect on local organizations, businesses and residents.

We’ve shared stories from individuals who had seen the worst of the virus in other parts of the world. We’ve followed up with local businesses that had to close for a relatively short time, then were able to reopen but under strict, and often costly, health and safety requirements. We communicated the decisions of organizers of annual community events to either postpone or drastically alter their offerings for 2020.

Read more: COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for two dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

Read more: B.C. considers provincial COVID-19 bubble as visitors come in

We saw jobs lost, work hours reduced and anxiety and uncertainty swell, with so many of us finding ourselves in a situation unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.

The process of adapting to life in a pandemic has served as a reminder of all the things that are so easy to take for granted.

In late November/early December came the hope of impending vaccination – and an early start to cross-country skiing at Larch Hills, both of which put me in a more upbeat mindset. However, around the same time, the reality of COVID-19 started hitting closer to home. On Nov. 24, staff at Salmon Arm Secondary’s Sullivan campus reported a case of the virus had been confirmed at the school. Later, we learned of several cases at a local retirement village, along with a related death.

More local schools have since reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, including the one my son attends.

I have to say, as someone who enjoys spending time on local trails, I am tired of hearing how “we’re not out of the woods yet.” However, though trite, this often repeated warning about the ongoing pandemic remains relevant, and is something we must all take heed of, if not for ourselves, than for the health and well-being of others. For all of us, really. So we can finally reach that point when, as a noun, COVID-19 is referred to in past tense.

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