Alberta COVID-19 scenarios causing worry for people with health issues

Jill brazier puffing on inhaler

Premier Jason Kenny revealed shocking numbers based on the possible outcomes of COVID-19 in the province. If preventative measures are not followed, the province could face as many as 1,000,000 potential cases and 6,600 deaths. These projections are further worrying people living in the province with poor health conditions.

“I’m extra cautious”

Currently the province has over 2,800 COVID-19 cases and 55 deaths. Based on the governments projections the numbers could soon steeply rise. This is causing concern for minor heart attack victim Jonathan Hector as his age and current health condition are at high risk to the virus. The 63 year old is changing his entire routine to try and prevent any chance of contracting the virus. “I’ve been staying home lots, social distancing. The only time I go out is when i have to get groceries or for [heart] treatment. I’m extra cautious.”

“It’s doing more harm”

Even though the virus is primarily harming older aged people, younger people such as Jillian Brazier can be hugely effected by COVID-19. Brazier is 20 years old and has bad asthma, which she medicates with an inhaler. If she were to contract the virus, her lungs would not be able to fend off the harsh effect COVID-19 would have on her lungs. Brazier has a strong message for people that are not taking preventative measures to fend off the virus. “It might not effect you but you could be passing [the virus] to people that could die potentially from this. It’s not smart to be going anywhere when it’s doing more harm.”

There are many more people in Alberta like Hector and Brazier that face medical challenges. The only way to keep them safe is follow guidelines and regulations set by Federal and Provincial Governments. The virus could amount to numbers that the Government projected leading to a substantial loss of lives and will take its toll on our province.

-Calvin Hector

Students are struggling with their schools being shutdown.

High schools are having a difficult time adjusting to their new online learning environment. With teachers scrambling to change lesson plans, to an online format, and students struggling to adapt to the shift in learning styles education is very difficult right now.

the content is much harder

Luckily for the kids, the teachers do understand the circumstance so all grades have been frozen and can not go lower then they currently are. Along with the frozen grades all diplomas have been canceled.

A high school student Grace Marshall is thankful for these changes noting how different the styles of learning are.

Miss Marshall says “As I am going through online school I’m realizing that the content is much harder to learn online then it is to learn in class.”

Miss Marshall says that the work ethic this inspires is a huge benefit for her down the road but is really disappointed how her year ended.

Many students are very disappointed that they do not get to experience their graduation ceremony and their chance to walk the stage, saying how an online graduation will not feel the same.

By: Zack Ferguson

High school milestones cancelled due to covid-19

“It was something that like you look forward to like, I don’t know, probably since junior high school.”

As the covid-19 pandemic prevents school classes, and move online, exams aren’t the only events being cancelled. High school seniors around the country are missing out on all the milestones that come with graduating high school. The class of 2020 graduates will not get to walk the stage, attend their graduation banquet in fancy gowns and tuxes, or even say goodbye to the people they spent 3 years with.

“I’m hoping that we’ll do something for those grade twelves once the isolation orders are lifted, but at this point in time, that’s a pretty significant milestone that these students aren’t getting to mark.”

Teens spend everyday for 3 or more years with the same class mates and teachers, working everyday with the purpose of graduating high school and going out into the real world. This hard work is supposed to be recognized and celebrated with the traditional cap and gown ceremony, and formal banquet.

Parents spend hundreds of dollars on dresses and suits. Many girls pick out their dresses months in advance, most grade 12’s have already purchased their attire and now have no dance to attend.

Luna Sinclair, a grade 12 student in Calgary said that the she and all of her friends had been waiting for graduation for years and stated how disappointed all of her class is, “It was something that like you look forward to like, I don’t know, probably since junior high school”.

“I won’t be able to see them except like during the summer of next year. So it’s off that way.” Luna said when talking about seeing her friends next year.

Grade 12 teachers understand the cancellation of events, but many believe that diploma exams are the least important milestone for graduating students.

Nicole Cameron, a high school humanities teacher in Calgary explained that in an emergency situation like the coronavirus pandemic, diploma exams hold no importance, but missing milestones like graduation will impact students for the rest of their lives. She hopes that after isolation orders are lifted, the school will be able to hold some sort of celebration of the 2020 class, but worries with so many kids leaving to post secondary, it won’t be possible.

The class of 2020 graduates will undoubtedly be prepared for a changing world of technology, after facing the complications of online learning, like no one else. But with the character and resilience these teens are learning, they are also missing out on such a universal experience. This class will not relate to so many other Canadians on what it feels like to walk the stage and shake hands with the principle, after years of homework and cramming for exams.

Sydney Chisholm

Real Life Impacts

From staying home as much as possible to standing in lines to get into grocery stores, Calgarians are feeling the many effects brought on by COVID-19.

Since the start of the pandemic numerous industries have shut down which is forcing many people to work from home.

“It’s more difficult…”

A lot of Calgarians had to change up the way they conduct their lives, for some this means working from home. During an interview with Regulatory Specialist Tracy Angel, she highlighted some of the struggles working from home and said “It has made it more difficult in many ways because when I used to attend meetings in conferences rooms I now have to skype in.” She shared that numerous technical issues were always happening along with other issues.

“Fall behind…”

COVID-19 isn’t just effecting those with jobs, its impacting many students as well. For some students their schooling was put on hold. And their worried about what next year’s school year will entail. In an interview with Emily Ramsay she said “It kind of worries me for high school because I want to be able to keep up with what we’re learning in grade 10 so I don’t fall behind.”

Many people are experincing the effects of COVID-19 and are hoping this will be over soon, but officals are saying that there are well over 2000 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, and we won’t see a peak in cases until mid-May. They recommend picking up activities that people can do at home. Many individuals have already picked up projects such as cooking or painting in order to pass the time.

– Amy Ramsay

Restaurant workers are not surprised by layoffs

Many businesses across the country have been forced to layoff employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I kind of saw it coming…”

The Federal Government has requested the closure of non-essential businesses and an industry that has been impacted is restaurants and bars. Drake Stefan is a bartender at National on 10th and could sense there was a potential for him to be out of a job. “I kind of saw it coming because the weekend leading up to the week that we did end up being laid off was extremely slow, so I thought it was only a matter of time before that had happened.”

“It definitely has affected me quite a bit…”

Drake’s girlfriend Tori Darr has also been impacted by these layoffs as she is a fulltime server at Leopold’s Tavern. Tori has been saving up to move to Australia in the new year, but with the ongoing pandemic, her plans may have to be put on hold. “It definitely has affected me quite a bit because I am a server, so I do rely on tips for my most income. I was saving up for Australia, but obviously that might have to be pushed back…”.

Like many employees who have found themselves without a job, both Drake and Tori are hopeful to return to work sooner, rather than later.

– Garret Stefan

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced places of worship to adapt.

Harvest Hills Alliance Church via phone 19/04/20

The ongoing pandemic that has been set from the COVID-19 outbreak has forced many businesses essential and non-essential into a difficult situation. But how has it affected places of worship or religious gatherings?

“It’s been challenging not impossible, but certainly different.”

I took a stroll up to Harvest Hills Alliance where I met with Rev. Myron Siemens. He said “It’s been challenging not impossible, but certainly different.” Rev. Siemens says the impact of COVID-19 has been immense since their church is not only a place of gathering for worship, but a shelter for those in need. The church helps the less fortunate by providing groceries or assisting some financially and even providing counselling for those with mental health struggles.

Rev. Myron Siemens captured during via live-stream 19/04/20

“Pull together what I believe is an effective live-stream.”

The church is not struggling as bad as they could have, since prior to the pandemic they opted to support donations electronically. This was a huge step forward as there are times they feel as though they are a tad bit behind in that area. Example of this is the fact that they had to turn the levers to ‘defcon 5’. Harvest had no way to live-stream or have the correct equipment to do so. “Less than 24 hours actually, we were able to pull it together using some fairly simple hardware, we were nevertheless able to pull together what I believe is an effective live-stream.” says Rev. Siemens.

Which is what the church believes to be a miracle being able to switch to this format overnight. Since the streaming has been going well they seek to keep it going into the future.

As Harvest continues to do what they can to social distance and battle this pandemic it’s still an ongoing struggle. Many of the amenities they offer cannot be active due to the gatherings sanction and many other laws in place too prevent spread of the virus. The church does aim to do whatever they can to assist the congregation and the surrounding communities moving forward, but it will be different not impossible.

~Daniel Siemens

SAIT NewsFile

Working during a pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 virus spread the majority of businesses have had to close and lay off their staff but some businesses that have been deemed as essential by the government have remained open, which means work for a few people during the pandemic. Grocery, liquor, cannabis stores and gas stations are just a few of the businesses that remain open during this time for the benefit of the public. Another business that has remained open is a company called FalkBuilt, FalkBuilt is building modular ICU components and therefore has been deemed essential during this time.

I honestly just feel grateful to still be working..

Mark Prentice is one of the few who is still working during this very trying time, he is a maintenance electrician at FalkBuilt, when interviewed about what it is like to work during a pandemic, Prentice said “Given that so many people have lost their jobs and their income I honestly just feel grateful to still be working and FalkBuilt is doing some very meaningful work right now.” Prentice goes on to say that he understands that financial assistance has been provided for those who have lost their jobs but he makes a lot more money working for FalkBuilt than he would if he were to claim the emergency unemployment benefits given by the government. Prentice also says that although he really is happy to be working right now he is also nervous about the virus itself “My wife had pleurisy as a child which has made her very susceptible to viruses such as COVID-19 and that does concern me a fair bit but I am taking all precautions to ensure that I do not put her at risk.” Prentice says working during a pandemic is definitely not easy but as long as we all do what we are told everything should be just fine.

I still have work yes but definitely not enough to survive on

For some people, working during a pandemic is very difficult and not work the risk. Christiaan Everts is a Cannasuer at a local dispensary and he says “I still have work yes but definitely not enough to survive on, I maybe get two or three shifts a week, I would be making more money if I were to just stay home and claim CERB.” Everts says that what he is making currently is not enough to cover all his bills he says he feels as though he is working a student job for some extra cash rather than a job he needs for sustainability he says it just is not worth the risk of getting incredibly sick but he is unsure what to do because you can not leave your job willingly and claim emergency funds from the government.

Working during the COVID-19 pandemic is very nerve racking for some and some wish they did have the option to just stay home and keep safe but when you are a worker of an essential business that is not always an option. Others do not find it too horrible like Mark Prentice but the fear of getting sick or of getting loved ones sick is still a factor.

written by Amy-Ellen Prentice

The agriculture industry taking a hit amid COVID 19 pandemic.

Alberta has one of the worlds most productive agriculture economies, and it is Canada’s second largest agriculture producer. There are over 70,000 farmers in Alberta that are feeling the strain that COVID 19 has put on the day to day operations of the farming industry.

Ty Nielson, a farm operator who is currently farming land in the rural community of Strathmore, which is 50 kilometers east of the City of Calgary, has expressed his concerns about how the coronavirus will possibly affect the up coming seeding season.

“We might not be able to go down there with as many people…”

“COVID 19 has affected us by currently not allowing us to potentially go down on to the reserves, because if the closures there is a chance that we might not be able to go down there with as many people as we need to, to get the job done.”

Magnum Opus, the farming company that works in and around the Strathmore area, also farms some land out by Siksika nation. It has also been released that Siksika nation has a medium risk of infection, with that being said the amount of people being allowed onto the reserve is going to be very selective.

If the farmers can’t go onto the reserve or if it is limited to how many people will be allowed there, there will be a major loss in money, time and product.

The Agriculture industry plays a critical role in distributing high quality foods to Canadian’s even with the COVID 19 pandemic farmers are still trying to carry on like it is business as usual.

  • Haley Carter

Teaching and learning from home.

Kindergarten student learning from home

Teachers have been delivering classes from home and students from kindergarten to post-secondary have been learning from home in Alberta; because of the social distancing guidelines set out by the Alberta government, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Teachers are concerned over some students not having access to technology at a given time due to their parents being essential workers.

“. . . I have deadlines”

“That poses a problem for me because I have deadlines, in school that wasn’t a issue, because I would be able to tell the kids this what you’re doing and give them recourses and class time work on that, on the particular assignment” said Reetu Atwal, a grade 1-12 English teacher.

Atwal says, as a parent it is hard as well. As her daughter, who is in kindergarten, was not prepared to do online studying.

“. . .but she’s not understanding that’s school now”

“For her looking at a screen and seeing her teacher on the screen is like a joke at times, or it’s just like having fun, like watching a YouTube video. But she’s not understanding that this is what school is now.” said Reetu Atwal, a grade 1-12 English teacher.”

Atwal says, teachers need to be patient while teaching younger children; and need to take a creative approach while teaching, as students have short attention spans.

Though, post secondary students have different worries as they are concerned about online schooling affecting their learning.

“. . . This puts us students at a disadvantage”

“Our lectures are pre-recorded and teachers are swamped with emails, so a reply to our questions will take more than a couple of days. This puts us students at a disadvantage” said Jasreet Jawanda a University of Calgary student.

In post secondary not receiving quick responses regarding lectures is challenging as it is time for finals.

For online schooling to be a concrete plan for the future both students and teachers need more direction in remote learning and teaching. As currently, students and teachers are having a hard time adjusting to this situation.

– Prina Atwal

Coronavirus pandemic changing Canadian’s work lives in a big way

Social distancing is a new term brought to us by the COVID-19 pandemic. As many of us are trying to navigate a ‘new normal’ during these unprecedented times, we realize how creative and resilient people really are. Working from home is a new reality for many and employers are trying to make that work for different jobs.

We dont have face to face meetings anymore,

Patti Shirkey, Director of Medical Imaging Rural Saskatchewan had to make a lot of changes to her daily work schedule. A usual day would include traveling to one of her 68 imaging sites across the province, but now all her work is done from home. “We don’t have any face to face meetings anymore so all my work is now done by email, the phone or by Webex.” says Shirkey.

Working from home is not an option for many people, and employers have had to take new precautionary steps to keep essential workers safe and healthy.

Even our employees are now in different buildings

Charles Shirkey, Building Operator, has had to make significant changes to the usual day to day operations. Making sure cleaning is done more regularly and supplies are always heavily stocked. Shirkey explains how employees are being split up, “Even our employees are now in different buildings, all working kind of separately rather than as a team so we can stay healthy and safe.”

-Hayley Shirkey