Aaron Stone, chairman of the CVRD. 
(File photo)

Aaron Stone, chairman of the CVRD. (File photo)

Guest Column: COVID-19 greatest challenge of a generation

We’ve rapidly moved from business as usual, to a series of measures that are anything but normal.

By Aaron Stone

Hi Cowichan. How are you all holding up?

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks to be sure. As we’ve struggled as a community, region, province, nation, indeed as a world to get ahead of COVID-19, we’ve been caught in a wave of daily and drastic changes in how we live our lives.

We’ve rapidly moved from business as usual, to a series of measures that are anything but normal. We’re now working from home, caring for children, checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re healthy and comfortable.

Some of us are uncertain about our job security and whether we’ll be able to make a mortgage or rent payment in April, let alone another month from now.

I understand this is hard for everyone, myself included as a husband, father, small business owner as well as your mayor and regional chairperson.

We’ve watched, read and listened as COVID-19 spreads across our country and around the world. We get daily totals of the numbers of confirmed infections, a daily accounting of the lives lost. These aren’t just numbers on a screen or statistics in a news article, these are friends and family, coworkers and community members. These are loved ones.

It can be overwhelming. I feel you.

This is also happening in a social media world where fear and skepticism collide into a hodgepodge of conflicting information. This is contributing to a level of societal anxiety I’ve not seen in my life. It makes a very challenging situation even more difficult. I feel that as well.

The cold reality is that COVID-19 is a very real threat. The greatest challenge of a generation.

This is something we as a society haven’t faced before. As a community leader, this is something I never imagined having to work through. Frankly, it’s a nightmare. Right now, getting a grant for some safety improvements or our latest economic development project just isn’t important. What is important is our health, our families and our friends. All of us.

So, what can we do?

We can start now. We can give ourselves over to this new short term reality and embrace what we need to do. Dive in head-first to what must be done. The sooner we do this, the sooner we actually do what is being asked of us, the sooner and the better this ends. Every day we distract, deny or delay is many more days it will go on. Let’s not kid ourselves that more people will be lost. So let’s do this!

I’m asking us all to listen to our medical professionals. I’m asking us to honour our loved ones. I’m asking us to make simple but difficult changes in our lives over the next few weeks to see if we can lower the infection rate and get ahead of COVID-19.

It’s going to be hard. We are going to be dealing with the fallout for a while but we will get through this together.

Ladysmith council has cancelled all regularly scheduled in-person meetings for the foreseeable future and will instead be holding virtual special council meetings using Zoom — a remote and secure conferencing service.

I encourage you to check for more information on our website in the coming days on how you can tune in to watch these meetings from home and stay informed on the decisions impacting our community.

We are all in this together. The entire world is in this together. We will find a way to rebuild after this is done but for today we need to do some simple things.

In the meantime, practise information hygiene and only get your information from trusted sources, such as the facts and links to public health agencies available through the Town’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage: www.ladysmith.ca/covid-19.

We all need to do whatever we can to flatten the curve. So, this is what normal looks like for a while:

• Stay home, if possible

• Work from home, if you can

• Go for a walk alone or with members of your household ONLY. Or hike or run or ride

• Physical distance and social distance when we must venture out for essentials

• Don’t hoard food and stockpile. Buy only the food and essentials that you need

• Stay connected with friends and family by text, phone, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom

• No group activities with anyone outside your household

• Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds minimum and then rinse well

• Don’t touch your face! (Being on Zoom has been a good reminder for me. I do it constantly!)

• Clean surfaces frequently.

This is so critical for you, me, and everyone we love. Even those we don’t know, who have others that love them too! We can beat COVID-19 together.

I’m with you. We’re all in this together.

Aaron Stone is the mayor of Ladysmith and the chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

ColumnistCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Duncan area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sorting food to deliver to community members isolating due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Back row from left: Philomena Wilson, Sosefina Aleck, Ethan Wilson and Lucetta Wilson. In front is Kennedy Aleck. (Submitted)
“Let’s share a meal even if I can’t sit with you”: Cowichan woman’s food drive helps feed members in isolation

Positive response to missing ceremonies and rising racism benefits dozens of households

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. [CDC]
Lake Cowichan daycare closes for 10 days due to COVID-19 exposure

A client at Creative Angels Daycare came in contact with someone who tested positive

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read