End of pandemic restrictions causing ‘great deal of fear’ for some N.S. seniors | CBC News

When Rev. Dianne Parker is out and about and spots an individual underneath 50 carrying a masks, she usually strikes up a dialog.

“I thank them for serving to to guard the older era,” says the 75-year-old who lives in north-end Halifax.

Nova Scotia has not too long ago seen its highest case counts and deaths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the province’s latest epidemiological summary released Thursday, it mentioned the median age of deaths since Dec. 8, 2021, is 81. It famous: “The danger of dying is 95 instances greater for these aged 70 years and older in comparison with these youthful than 50.”

Parker, one of many ministers at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Halifax, is nervous about how the Nova Scotia authorities is managing the pandemic and the impression that is having on seniors.

At a time when a scarcity of public well being restrictions means Nova Scotians are free to exit and do as they please, Parker mentioned it is forcing seniors to remain in and develop into extra remoted.

Rev. Dianne Parker says she’s ‘withdrawn a bit’ since Nova Scotia lifted its COVID-19 public well being restrictions. She says she’s listening to the identical factor from different seniors. (Submitted by Rev. Dianne Parker)

“There actually is a substantial amount of concern,” she mentioned.

Parker mentioned she’s “withdrawn a bit,” noting she’s turned down invites to gatherings and hasn’t been out for dinner at a restaurant for the reason that province lifted the proof-of-vaccination requirement for non-essential activities on Feb. 28 .

Invoice VanGorder mentioned he is listening to the identical issues from seniors he is aware of. He is the spokesperson for the Nova Scotia chapter of CARP, previously the Canadian Affiliation of Retired Individuals.

“They know they are not being protected by Public Well being in the identical means they have been earlier than,” mentioned VanGorder.

He mentioned seniors have a number of questions — and so they’re not getting solutions.

“Why is not the federal government saying all people ought to put on a masks?” mentioned VanGorder. “As a result of they really feel very uncomfortable going into these sorts of locations the place many, many individuals, if not a majority of individuals, aren’t carrying masks anymore.”

Irregular COVID-19 briefings

VanGorder attributes the shortage of solutions partially to the actual fact officers have not been holding common COVID-19 briefings. The last time the province streamed a briefing was April 14.

“These have been crucial to [seniors] and so they appeared to really feel comforted and inspired by the truth that these officers, who they trusted, have been frequently telling them what was taking place,” he mentioned.

“And since that stopped, they really feel uninformed and nervous as a result of that they had all that info that they thought they might go by. And now they are not getting very a lot in any respect. Even the data popping out is rather more normal than the specifics they have been getting earlier than.”

On Thursday, the province’s chief and deputy medical officers of well being held a teleconference with the media to speak concerning the newest weekly COVID-19 report. The briefing was not aired publicly, however the province did stay stream its announcement that Halifax and Moncton have been internet hosting the 2023 world junior hockey championship that very same day.

Invoice VanGorder of CARP says the province isn’t holding sufficient COVID-19 briefings. (Robert Brief/CBC)

Talking on the briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Well being Dr. Robert Strang mentioned carrying a masks is not only about defending your self, it is about defending people who face elevated dangers from COVID-19 attributable to their age or underlying well being circumstances.

“All of us have to take the steps which can be essential to maintain these people protected,” he mentioned.

Strang mentioned seniors ought to get their second COVID-19 booster pictures.

“For those who’re 70 years of age and older, take that chance and get a booster dose as quickly as you are eligible to get one,” he mentioned.

In an announcement, the province mentioned it acknowledges the transition to dwelling with COVID-19 may be “intimidating” and “unsettling.”

“However respiratory viruses are usually not new — and public well being has a long time of expertise in infectious illness safety and management to show to,” wrote spokesperson Marla MacInnis.

Lynette Reid, an affiliate professor who works in public well being ethics at Dalhousie College’s bioethics division, mentioned it is comprehensible individuals could also be confused by present messaging.

Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Well being Dr. Robert Strang is encouraging all residents to put on masks to assist shield extra susceptible members of our inhabitants, corresponding to seniors and immunocompromised individuals. (CBC)

Reid mentioned Nova Scotia was a jurisdiction with a zero COVID-19 objective and strict public well being protections. Now, there aren’t public well being restrictions and the main target is on dwelling with COVID.

“I feel that is what’s puzzling for individuals, is this sense, like, ‘I am at a better danger than ever, however we’re presupposed to be doing nothing,'” she mentioned.

Even with out restrictions, she mentioned there is not any motive public well being cannot do extra messaging round why carrying masks is necessary, very similar to it does for the harms of smoking and consuming.

“They may very well be giving a way more sturdy message to the general public … I may very well be strolling down the road and seeing the bus go by with an enormous poster saying, , ‘Masking, it isn’t required. However it’s a good suggestion. Shield grandma and masks.'”

Feeling overlooked

She mentioned if people put on masks, restrict their social contacts and practise bodily distancing, it might assist create “a stage taking part in area” for people who find themselves older or immunocompromised, and permit them to extra totally take part in society.

Whereas Parker worries concerning the bodily and psychological toll the pandemic is having on seniors, she’s additionally nervous concerning the interactions seniors are lacking out on — and the worth they carry to society.

 “Now we have a lot knowledge, compassion and expertise to share with the youthful [generation],” she mentioned.


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