I have learned a few things about our healthy system. Not many I know. First, it is a wonderful system. If you are sick our health care professionals can help. Not always, but often. And the workers are kind, dedicated, caring, and professional. Just what you need if you are sick. I know this from personal experience in a stressful time.
But there is room for improvement too. I have just gone for my 3rd Covid-19 test. And as I write this I am waiting for the results. Do I have a cold or Covid-19? We’ll see.
Yesterday, I was told because of the symptoms we had, Chris and I should go for a Covid-19 test. So we immediately, tried to make an appointment for the test. Thankfully, in Steinbach we can make appointments. A friend of mine in Winnipeg stood in line (yes you heard that right, she stood in line) for about 3 hours waiting for her test. No appointments? Why can’t they make appointments in Winnipeg? Can you imagine how many people can’t stand for 3 hours? How many people gave up in frustration long before they reached the end of the line? How many people did not get tests that they should have got? How many other people were then exposed to these untested individuals who should have been tested?
Why do people who walk rather than drive have to wait so long? Is this because the walk-in tests are given where mainly poor people live? Where many indigenous people live? Are they not important too?
For me trying to make an appointment was a very annoying process. They have so few telephone lines that you must phone over and over again after hearing annoying recorded messages. I don’t know how many times Chris and I called. We were both phoning repeatedly. Each time we had to listen to at least part of an annoying recorded message. I know the first time I tried to get a test a few months ago. I found the message very confusing. Again I almost gave up. How many people give up and don’t get tested when they should?
Eventually we got through and made an appointment. Even with the appointment we had to wait in line for about half an hour after waiting a few hours for the appointment. I considered that a reasonable delay. It is not easy to schedule appointments for an entire day and have them all align perfectly.
But why does the province not hire more people to take the calls? Why does the province not hire and train more people to administer the tests? I know not anyone could do the jobs, but surely it would not take that long to train people to administer a simple nasal swab. It should not take a highly trained health care professional.
We are experiencing high unemployment in Manitoba. Most of these people are being paid by the government not to work. I am glad they are getting paid. Yet, I know most people would rather work than receive a cheque not to work. In Canadian society jobs give us meaning and a sense of worth. That is why people want to work. At least until they become old like me and believe they have worked long enough. So why don’t we hire people who don’t have jobs to do these jobs? Then phone calls could be handled all day and all night. Why don’t we keep the offices open as long as it takes to get it done promptly? The same goes for administering the tests in a lab. That might be trickier but surely it could be done if we used a little ingenuity. In Manitoba we have been in this pandemic for more than 6 months, why have we not arranged for this by now?
It is important that people get tested quickly. It is important that the test results are available quickly. Not just for me. I am not that important. For others. So if necessary people who contacted me can be told to get tested and also self-isolate sooner rather than later.
Now I am waiting for my test results. This is already more than 48 hours after my test was taken. This is nearly 60 hours since I was notified to get a test. When the test results come, and if I am positive, they will want to contact trace. By the time the professionals come to see me to do that I will likely have forgotten at least some of the people I contacted. After all it is so long ago, and I have trouble remembering whom I saw in the last hour. And I have been staying isolated at home. That means some people who should be tested won’t be tested and will continue to contact other people.
The same reasoning applies to schools. Why don’t we hire more unemployed teachers? I think there are lots of them around. I know some of them who can’t find a job. Why don’t we hire more janitors and maintenance people and keep schools open 18 hours a day? Or more? Then we can have smaller class sizes. Then everyone in those schools, including my precious grand daughters can be safer. The staff and teachers can be safer because they will be able to stay socially distant? Then there will be less community spread and we will all be safer, even those of us who have no direct contact with schools. I think this makes sense.
I know this costs money, but the investment is worth it. Our conservative government likes to avoid spending tax money. But sometimes that is foolish. If we do a better job of this business people can go back to work sooner. Then we can all pay them less assistance. Businesses can avoid bankruptcy. Our economy can grow. Sometimes we have to spend money to save money. That is called an investment.
Imagine too how people can live better and safer lives! This is not just about money.
Doesn’t this make more sense than opening bars and restaurants without social distance requirements?