• Myrna Driedger

The Red Cross

Published in the August 2021 edition of Lifestyles 55

Congrats to the Red Cross!

This pandemic has been a challenging time. We have had to change and adapt our lives in so many ways. This has been a tremendous undertaking and I want to begin this article with a reminder of the mental health supports that are available. It’s okay to not be okay. Please check out https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/bewell to see the free of charge mental health supports available. This pandemic has seen an increase in anxiety and depression so I want to remind everyone that there is help when you need it. Remember to reach out to family and friends when you need to talk and check in on your loved ones. Physical distancing does not mean you have to be isolated.

During my time as a nurse, I saw first hand the immense power of vaccines. If you haven’t done so already, please book your appointment to get vaccinated. I am so pleased to hear stories from my constituents who have received the vaccine and are eager to enjoy summer in a safe way while still following public health orders. Vaccines are an integral step on the path out of this pandemic.

While we’re not out of the woods yet, I want to take a moment to thank an impressive organization that has aided greatly in this fight against COVID-19, the Canadian Red Cross. I am especially grateful to the Red Cross for their effort to curb and combat COVID-19. Their work has helped Manitoba navigate these unprecedented challenges.

The Canadian Red Cross has a very long history in our country. While it was officially founded in 1896, this humanitarian concept with the Red Cross as its symbol had existed for a few decades earlier. The humanitarian organization that the Canadian Red Cross has grown into is an impressive one. I am so thankful for all that the CRC has done in our community.

Some important highlights of the work they’ve done in Manitoba during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

• Provided contact tracing support with a team of up to 80 Red Cross callers who have called and answered over 100,000 calls. These calls have been integral in the effort to notify contacts, isolate potential cases, and help to curb the spread.

• Assisted 11 long-term care homes by providing prevention and control advice training and supplied teams of personnel to some of these care homes.

• Helped with the supply of alternative isolation accommodations for First Nations individuals who were unable to isolate at home in their communities.

• Provided 10 nurses in support of ICU, medical, and emergency departments.

• Has assisted Stony Mountain Institution by providing prevention and control training.

The Canadian Red Cross has also provided support to the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team after being invited by AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. Some important highlights of this work include:

• Helped with alternative accommodations in Winnipeg.

• Assisted in procuring and shipping supplies to First Nations Communities to support isolation sites. The Canadian Red Cross created and shipped isolation kits which included: cots, blankets, pillows, hygiene kits for isolation areas. Also procured hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, thermometers, gowns, and other supplies as needed by the community. These supplies went out to 61 First Nations communities.

• Deployed Red Cross teams to support outbreak response.

• Worked with First Nations to support vaccination clinics. In doing so deployed vaccinators and other support staff.

• Has also offered psychological First Aid Training to members of First Nations in Manitoba.

These actions undertaken by the Canadian Red Cross in Manitoba have played a tremendous role in this fight against the virus. Since the beginning of this difficult time, I have seen people come together and unite to navigate these challenging times. I’ve seen neighbours checking on neighbours, community members altering their lives, community groups developing virtual methods, and organizations spring into action. The Canadian Red Cross is one such group who sprang into action in our time of need. And they continue in their actions to help Manitobans.

Thank you to the Canadian Red Cross and congratulations on all your hard work!

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