Steinbach resident and business owner, Evangeline Loewen, who was recently interviewed by CBC in light of sky-rocketing rates of Covid-19 in our town, said that she wants to separate old and vulnerable people from the rest of us so we can live and work and they can stay somewhere else?
Evangeline Loewen said, “It looks like we are preparing for Communism.” No doubt this will be put on National TV. I think it was. Is wearing a mask now comparable to spending 10 years in the Soviet prisoner of war camps? Are masks a slippery slope to that?
She doesn’t want people to be “pumped full of fear.” She also said people should be afraid because we should trust God who heals us. As our hospital emergency room is jammed to capacity as a result of Covid-19 cases, she really thinks everyone is making too big a deal of Covid-19. Many others in our town feel the same. They don’t like the restrictions. People like that think it is a major infringement on their liberty to be forced to wear a mask when in public so that others are protected.
Because people are asked to wear a mask in Steinbach mainly to protect the lives of other people, the opponents of the restrictions organized a protest rally against compulsory mask use. They did this as Steinbach has the highest per capita rate of Covid-19 in Canada! 49 new cases of Covid-19 in Steinbach today!
Meanwhile, as citizens like Evangeline Loewen from Steinbach and Reeve Lewis Weiss from Labroquerie dismiss mask-wearing Steinbach has the highest per capita rate of Covid-19 in Canada!
But ignorance has consequences. Recently, I listened to a heart-breaking interview with a Sarah Neufeld (no relation), a Health Care Worker from Steinbach’s Bethesda Hospital.
Here are a few of the things she said according to Steinbach Online (It’s long but it’s worth the read):
“Sarah Neufeld is a nurse in the Emergency Room at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre. She says the number of positive COVID-19 cases she and her team are dealing with on a daily basis are considerably more than they or the hospital building itself can handle. She notes it is not uncommon to run out of rooms and be forced to relocate beds into the hallways and even beds themselves are not always available.
“I liken this to what it must have been like around The War when the injured just kept coming and coming and coming and they had no place for them, that is the feeling that we have. Right when we are exhausted, we have filled every bed, we have finally transferred a few patients out, then we get four more in.”
“We’ve even had someone in a chair because we didn’t even have enough beds,” she remarks. “To have every room, every space, every hospital bed, and every ICU bed full. It is something I have never seen in my career.”
There have been rumors around Steinbach that certain individuals with the virus have been forced to wait out the night in an ambulance. While Neufeld could not substantiate those reports, she says, considering the current spatial constraints, it is not altogether unlikely.
“If we have Covid-positive patients that come in via EMS they cannot be offloaded until we have a bed and because we are so overcapacity, it is entirely possible that they had to wait for hours in the ambulance bay with attendants.”
In addition to not having enough staff to manage the number of incoming patients, Neufeld says the staff that the hospital does have are burning out fast. These days, she says it is realistic to expect an eleven-hour shift with no breaks.
“How are we supposed to manage in these conditions?” she questions. “These aren’t sustainable.”
“I feel driven to advocate for my fellow healthcare workers that I work alongside,” she states. “I feel like the community does not have an idea of how bad it is and how desperate we are in the ER
During the weeks ahead, Neufeld anticipates that she and her coworkers will become even more mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted than they already are. Ultimately, the only way Neufeld can see the situation improving in the ER is if they get more housekeepers, work clerks, nurses, and doctors. She is calling on the government to do just that.
Meanwhile, Neufeld says there is one small thing the public can do to make their workload lighter…
“We need a show of solidarity from our community,” she stresses. “We hear about these anti-mask people or these anti-mask rallies and we are utterly shocked and dismayed at the fact that there are people doing that when we are working so tirelessly for our community. And the paradox is when they are sick where do they go? They come to us at the hospital. So if people could wear their masks and show respect and kindness, that this the biggest thing they could do.”
What Neufeld and her co-workers do not need are dangerous fools like Lewis Weiss who thinks because he does not feel sick he can’t spread the disease to others. What Neufeld and her co-workers don’t need are religious zealots like Evangeline Loewen who thinks restrictions on our freedom such as wearing masks are an unreasonable imposition and a prelude to Communism.
I don’t want people to be pumped up with unreasonable fears either, but it seems to me we should be concerned about these dangers.
Sarah Neufeld warned that these conditions in the hospital are not sustainable. She also said, “when people keep coming we can’t handle them.” If the health-care workers can’t keep up what will the people do when no patients are allowed in to the hospital? Get medical treatment from the local Reeve perhaps.