Covid-19 and pets

Quinny is my favourite dog. But with the current pandemic, is it safe to pet him? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., there is no evidence at this time that pets can spread Covid-19 or be a source of infection. So Quinny will still get his belly rubs. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Understandably, people are worried about different ways they might contract Covid-19. Some people are worried about transmission from pets and such fears spread like wildfire on social media.

Relax. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that pets are a risk. They say:

At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.

Animals can, however, get some coronaviruses, so if you are infected, you need to restrict contact with them. Continue reading “Covid-19 and pets”

Giving blood – donation is safe and the need is critical

Blood collection in Canada (except Quebec) is carried out under Canadian Blood Services.

There will be great need for blood, but the logistics of collecting it at this time are complicated. You need to arrange an appointment and if you can’t get an appointment now, consider trying again in a week or so. CBS says:

It’s safe to donate blood during COVID-19, and critical for patients

You can book appointments through their website or by using their app, GiveBlood, which is available for Android in the Google Play Store and for Apple at the App Store.

If you get an appointment, you will need to travel to where they direct you, which likely involves travel up the valley.

Visit for more information.

What are the ‘rules’ for social distancing?

How close is too close? Health authories advise that you stay at least two metres away from others. Couples and immediate family are fine if not showing symptoms. The benches here are a little too close to the walkway for people to keep that distance, so some people walk on the bike path. (Richard McGuire Photo)

As the pandemic spreads, the rules for social distancing are changing.

Less than a week ago, public health authorities throughout North America were calling for cancellation of events with more than 250 people. Things change quickly and now even small gatherings are being called off.

The current advice is to stay at least two metres (just over six feet) away from others when you are out in public.  Obviously if you are showing symptoms or have been exposed to someone else with symptoms, you need to go further. Continue reading “What are the ‘rules’ for social distancing?”

Loneliness is also a pandemic, and it’s going to become more of a challenge

Get some exercise! Pioneer Walkway provides a short and pleasant walk with views of Osoyoos Lake. Flowers are starting to emerge along the walkway. It is popular, so don’t forget to stay at least two metres away from anyone who is not a healthy member of your own family. Taken March 19. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Loneliness is itself a serious health issue. With social distancing and other measures, it’s going to get worse.

It’s especially a problem for seniors living on their own. Loneliness contributes to mental anxiety, but it also affects your physical health. Some research suggests loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking and is more predictive of mortality than obesity.

Volunteering, if you are able, is a great way to stay connected with others, and volunteers are going to be needed. Those who are housebound and lonely are encouraged to swallow their pride and reach out to others for comfort and contact.

It may be as simple as identifying a person living on their own who can’t get out and phoning them regularly. Continue reading “Loneliness is also a pandemic, and it’s going to become more of a challenge”

The dos and don’ts of social distancing

These dos and don’ts on social distancing come from Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer with the Public Health Agency of Canada:


  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Get fresh air, go for a jog or walk your dog but always keep two metres (six feet or about two arms-lengths) distance from other people.
  • Go to the grocery store or pharmacy as needed but keep the two-metre distance and wash your hands upon your return home. Shopping online and arranging to have things dropped off at your home is even better.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food. The extra scrubbing time matters. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Dispose of any tissues as soon as possible in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). This includes things like doorknobs, toys, toilets, phones, electronics, remote controls and bedside tables.
  • Use technology to keep in touch with people at higher risk like the elderly or those in poor health. Avoid personal contact.


  • Avoid non-essential gatherings. That means no visits with your neighbours or friends, no play dates, no sleepovers, no parties and especially no public gatherings in crowded spaces, like conferences, concerts or sporting events (if there are any on).
  • Avoid public transportation or, if you must use it, travel at uncrowded hours.
  • Don’t shake hands or kiss cheeks in greeting.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Staying Sane – Preserving your mental health during the pandemic

The current pandemic will for many people cause anxiety, depression and other reactions. It’s as important to maintain mental health as physical health.

This article, Covid-19 and Anxiety, from Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, provides important information about preserving your mental and physical health. The article was posted by HereToHelp which has other information on mental health and substance abuse.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) also has a page on Covid-19 on their website.


Finding Help – What to do if you experience symptoms

If you are experiencing symptoms, DO NOT drop into your doctor’s office or the hospital emergency department unannounced!

Use the online Self-Assessment Tool to determine whether you need further testing or medical assistance.

Interior Health Authority provides this advice:


Reported signs and symptoms include: fever, new cough, and difficulty breathing. If you think you have the symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home and call 8-1-1, or your family doctor/nurse practitioner. People without symptoms, or those with mild symptoms who can be managed at home, should not be tested. The exception is health-care workers with COVID-19 infection who have recovered and require a negative test prior to returning to work.


Testing will occur by appointment for people who have been referred by their primary care provider or an 8-1-1 nurse.

Health Questions

If you have health concerns, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.

Oliver law firm sets up buddy system

Sage Hill Law in Oliver has set up a buddy system for Oliver and area (including Osoyoos).

People register either to be a helper or be helped. The helper checks in regularly while practicing social distancing. If needed, the helper may do things like pick up groceries — delivering them in a safe manner.

For more information and to register as either a helper or someone helped, visit their website.

See also the story in the Osoyoos Times by Lyonel Doherty of the Oliver Chronicle.


Business updates – some are closing, others changing their service

AG Foods, like its cousin Buy-Low Foods, is still open and they are doing their best to serve customers and keep supply lines open. Check their Facebook page for updates. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Local businesses are working hard to adapt their operations to the new reality of the pandemic. In some cases, this means closing down. Others are limiting their hours or are adapting to options like take-out instead of sit-down eating. Continue reading “Business updates – some are closing, others changing their service”