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

Mercedes F1 develops breathing device for COVID-19 patients

Credit- James Tye/UCL

A breathing aid has been developed for COVID-19 patients, that does not require an invasive procedure, like a ventilator. Engineers from University College London and Mercedes Formula One sat down and created the device in less than 100 hours. This device is claimed to be an improvement on the already existing continuous positive airway pressure device.

“These devices will help to save lives”

CPAP machines are used regularly in hospitals to support patients with breathing difficulties onwards or at home, but the equipment is in short supply. Professor Mervyn Singer, a UCLH critical care consultant says, “These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill.”

The device has already been approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

-Hayley Shirkey

University of Calgary suspends study abroad programs due to COVID-19

Some study abroad programs have been suspended from the University of Calgary due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Countries expecting the transmission of the virus have been knocked off the list for study abroad programs. The university is contiunally monitering and will update the list of suspended countries as new information is released.

“Our decision was made after updates from Global Health Experts…”

The safety and well being of the campus community is a number one priority for the university, but they cannot force students to return back to Calgary.

Senior Academic Administrator Dru Marshall says “Our decision was made after reviewing and assessing key medical information and updates from global health experts that advise against all nonessential travel to areas affected by the virus due to the potential health risks.”

Numerous students are the U of C are impacted by the changes and the university is suspending travel to those affected areas until September 2020.

Hayley Shirkey

Indigenous prisoner numbers on the rise

Indigenous people only account for approximately five per cent of the Canadian population, but over 30 per cent of Canadian Federal prisoners are Indigenous. The numbers are even more concerning for the female community, at an alarming 42 per cent.

The correctional system seems unresponsive to the needs, histories and social realities behind high rates of Indigenous offending.

Ivan Zinger, Correctional Investigator

No government party has managed to reverse the tendency of Indigenous depiction in jails.

The Correctional Service of Canada tries to impact the time Indigenous offenders spend during their sentence. The service continues utilizing culturally active programs, ensuring a successful return to society.

Hayley Shirkey