Marisca Bakker

Let’s not drag this COVID thing out

Marisca gets on board with mask-wearing and hopes other valley residents will do the same

So far in the northern half of the province, we’ve been pretty lucky with the low number of COVID-19 cases, especially when you compare the Northern Health region to those in the Lower Mainland.

Northern Health usually sees a handful of new cases every day where the Fraser Health region is always in the hundreds lately.

However, things can change quickly and I sometimes I feel Bulkley Valley residents are becoming lax in health precautions or have become tired of everything that comes along with the pandemic.

I get it, I’m in the same boat.

But with Christmas around the corner, I think we should start to be more careful. Could you imagine being in quarantine for the holidays? Or all the small shops and restaurants that are still struggling with the closures from earlier this year to have to close their doors again… especially during one of their busiest times of the year?

Wearing masks in most places in Smithers isn’t mandatory, but recommended. I think the culture around masks here needs to shift. Not a lot of people wear them, so others don’t.

I fall victim to this.

I don’t want to be the only one wearing one. People stare.

My mom used to always ask me when I was younger, if everyone jumped off the bridge, would you? And as a teenager, I’d always answer, yes. I don’t want to miss out and it can’t be that bad if everyone is doing it.

Apparently things haven’t changed for me as an adult. If other people aren’t wearing masks, I won’t either. I realize how silly this sounds.

Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Tam is now recommending Canadians choose three-layer non-medical masks with a filter layer to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We will be spending more time indoors over the winter and she said the science behind masks has accelerated.

It is also important to wear them correctly and wash reusable ones often.

Bacteria and viruses can live on cloth fabric for up to eight to 12 hours.

Most websites that sell masks suggest hand washing them for 20-30 seconds in warm soapy water and letting them air dry.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve thrown mine in the washing machine (and gulp, dryer) and they’ve held up.

Owning a couple of masks can make this task easier and there are so many local makers in the valley that have created some beautiful ones. My daughters have the cutest ones from Sew Bright Creations. If they like the look of them, they are more likely to wear them.

I’m going to try and start being better about wearing a mask, not only to protect myself but those around me. I hope others will too.

If we are all careful, we can get through this together.

B.C.’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry keeps saying this won’t last forever, but let’s not drag it out.