OsoyoosPersists.ca, website on surviving the pandemic in our community, officially launches

Richard McGuire

A new website, OsoyoosPersists.ca, has launched to provide the Osoyoos, B.C. community and area with localized information about the Covid-19 pandemic.

The non-commercial site is the project of Richard McGuire, a semi-retired journalist and photographer living in Osoyoos.

The site, which “soft-launched” on Friday, March 20, will provide researched, curated and fact-checked information with a focus on this community. Continue reading “OsoyoosPersists.ca, website on surviving the pandemic in our community, officially launches”

How dangerous are surfaces and what can you do to be safe?

Frequently touched public surfaces like elevator buttons can carry the virus — which depending on circumstances can stay active for hours or days. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

The main way that the coronavirus causing Covid-19 spreads is by human-to-human contact.

It forms as tiny droplets when people sneeze or cough, etc. These travel through the air and you breathe them in — where they infect your respiratory system.

The recommended or required distance is two metres or just over six feet to avoid this. Aim for more if possible to be safe. And no, it’s not safe to shake hands from two metres or any distance!

But people also sneeze and cough on surfaces. They cover coughs and sneezes with their hands (why you don’t shake them) and then touch elevator buttons, card transaction machines, and all those other surfaces in our normal lives. If you handle these, then touch your face, you can get the virus. It enters through mucus membranes like your nose, eyes, mouth — you get the idea!

Washing hands thoroughly and as soon as possible after touching surfaces without touching your face is a must. But it’s hard to avoid touching faces because we do it without thinking — for some people many times in an hour.

How long does a surface stay infectious? That depends. Continue reading “How dangerous are surfaces and what can you do to be safe?”

RCMP warns that scammers are trying to profit from the virus

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is reporting that scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

This information comes in a news release from Cpl. Daniel Michaud
Media Relations Officer Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC).

This can take the form of asking you to donate to victims, offering unproven treatments, or offering protective gear.

See their Fraud Alert warning for more information.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield speaks about self isolation from experience

Astronaut Chris Hadfield has released a short YouTube video with tips on self isolation. It’s called “An Astronaut’s Guide to Self Isolation.”

The audio on the 2:05 minute video is a bit low, so crank up your speakers.

Hadfield commanded the International Space Station in December, 2012.

“I’ve spent a little time self isolating — onboard a spaceship,” he said.

Among his tips:

  • Understand the actual risk. Don’t just be afraid of things. Seek information from a credible source about the true risk you’re facing;
  • Decide your mission — what do you want to get done;
  • Consider what are the constraints;
  • Take action to do things — not necessarily the same things you did before. This can be a time to take on new challenges that you can do while in isolation, like starting a new project, learning guitar or learning a new language, read a book or write.

“It’s a chance to do something different that you’ve never done before. And then repeat,” he said.

“There has never been a better time to self isolate,” he suggests, with some much information about everything available on the internet. “You have the entire written work, all the body of everything right there at your fingertips.”


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 blood.ca 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.