COVID life in our little corner of the world

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Canadian geography or with the profiles of all of its provinces, my little, often-overlooked province of New Brunswick in eastern Canada won’t be a name that rings a bell. Don’t feel bad, many Canadians aren’t too familiar with us either. In fact, we once stayed in a national chain motel in Connecticut on our way back from a trip years ago and the map of the U.S. and Canada on the lobby wall didn’t have New Brunswick showing. It showed the State of Maine, just a few hundred miles up the east coast from the motel, bordering what was labelled Nova Scotia. New Brunswick had just disappeared. I know we’re considered a drive-through province, but still!

That’s New Brunswick in red!

Not only are we dismissed as not map-worthy by one of the major motel chains (I forget which one), but we are often dismissed nationally because we have a smaller population than most provinces and our economy has never rebounded to the star status it had back in the days of the sailing ships! Well, it turns out that hiding your light under a bushel can pay off. Nobody is out of the woods until the world comes up with a credible, well-tested vaccine, but our little province, along with the even smaller province of Prince Edward Island, are at least leading the way in limiting COVID cases. Out of our population of around 770,000 people, we’ve had 122 cases and 0 deaths. The very good news arising from this is that as of today we have entered Phase 3 of reopening.

Phase 3. The Yellow Level. It almost seems too good to be true. I’m not sure any of us are mentally prepared for this. We all know that social distancing and masks in stores and anywhere else where social distancing may not be possible will remain in force until we have a vaccine, but this is what is suddenly allowed. It’s overwhelming, almost surreal. From the Province’s website:

New Brunswick is currently moving to the Yellow level. During this time, Public Health measures and guidelines must still be followed.

The following are now allowed:

  • Your household bubble can be extended to close friends and family.
  • Non-regulated health professionals and businesses can open, including acupuncturists and naturopaths.
  • Personal services businesses can open, including: barbers, hair stylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists, and tattoo artists.

On Friday, May 29, 2020, New Brunswick will loosen additional restrictions under the Yellow level. At that time, the following will be allowed:  

  • Outdoor gatherings of 50 people or fewer with physical distancing. Religious services of 50 people or fewer can take place indoors with physical distancing.
  • Elective surgeries and other non-emergency health-care services will increase.
  • Low-contact team sports can be played.
  • The following will be allowed to open:
  • Swimming pools, saunas and waterparks
  • Gyms, yoga and dance studios
  • Rinks and indoor recreational facilities
  • Pool halls and bowling alleys

On Friday, June 19, 2020, overnight camps will be able to open.

All unnecessary travel into New Brunswick is prohibited. Everyone entering New Brunswick at any point of entry, including airports, must stop when instructed to do so by a peace officer and answer any questions as required to support the intent of the requirements of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. With few exceptions, anyone who comes to New Brunswick from outside the province and remains here is required to self-isolate for 14 days. Information for international and interprovincial travellers can be found here.

Something like this is going to happen to my shoulder.

As a result of these changes, I had several very unexpected phone calls this morning. First of all, I had a call from the office of my shoulder specialist, who asked me if I could come for my shoulder replacement surgery on Wednesday. Wednesday, that’s May 27. OMG. I had been planning to call their office in early June to see what date I might get as they opened up, thinking maybe October. Yikes. Next I got two follow-up calls related to this unexpected – but welcome – plan of action. I was given an appointment for a COVID test on Sunday, 3 days prior to entering hospital, to ensure that I am COVID-free. And, once I have the test, I have to self-isolate, so any trips to the grocery store, etc., have to be done today or tomorrow. I haven’t had any deadlines for 10 weeks. Yikes again.

Then I got a call from my hairdresser, who had previously told me he thought he’d be open to give me an appointment by June 8. “Can you come for an appointment on Monday … or Wednesday?” Yikes. I explained my sudden unexpected situation and the absolutely lovely man immediately said he’d see me tomorrow morning, as long as I didn’t mind that there might not be a mirror up yet because they’re busily trying to get everything ready to meet the requirements. Wow. Since once I have this surgery who knows how I’ll even wash my hair for several weeks, getting a long-overdue haircut ahead of time is HUGE!

Then I realized that this means I only have a few days to get our annuals planted (yes, the warm weather has just reached our shores). Since our local nursery could not figure out any way to provide for social distancing in their greenhouses, they have set up an online order system; they email you (or phone) when your order is ready and then you go pick it up or have it delivered. All now ordered. Easy-peasy. More scheduling has now happened at our house in the past few hours than has happened in the past ten weeks. Amazing. It’s almost too much to take in!

As I mentioned in a previous COVID post, our province has had such positive results (knock on wood) due to a combination of competent government and public health officials all working closely and collaboratively together, and also due to some good luck. Our March Break was earlier than most and our government decided to close the schools down early.  And if you notice the final paragraph of today’s announcement with respect to moving to Level Yellow, the province remains closed to non-essential travel. This has been an important regulation to help keep us virus-free. Support for those border closures remains strong.

All this to say, there is light at the end of the tunnel, at least temporarily, if people adhere to the social distancing and mask rules. Surely that’s worth the price of saving lives and helping get your part of the world slowly back on track. Yes, there might very well be a second wave – it appears to be all but a certainty – but we know what we have to do – adhere to the social distancing and mask rules!

Meanwhile, if I don’t blog for a few weeks after Map Monday, you’ll know it’s because I haven’t yet learned the patience required to type with just one hand. I’m going to be forced into one-handedness for 6 weeks as my shoulder heals! Worth every minute of it.

 

 

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30 Responses to COVID life in our little corner of the world

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Wow, I cringe at the thought of replacing a shoulder, even someone else’s. Wishing you the very best Jane.

    Yes, your province has done well. The border restrictions make complete sense from a health point of view but here they’re going to kill much of our tourist industry unless there is big government support.

    You probably know that we have a smaller, noisy neighbour, Guernsey. They’re trumpeting that they’re now case-free. One of their top people called Jersey’s politicians, in comparison to theirs, ‘bumbling idiots.’ ‘Yes,’ we replied very offended, ‘but they’re OUR bumbling idiots.’

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks for the well wishes. Your instincts re shoulder pain and not wanting it are well-founded! You’re dead on about the 2-edged sword of closed borders versus tourism. And our season is a short one. But the last three cases we had came from someone crossing the border into Quebec and bringing back the virus. These are heartbreaking choices. The tourists bring the badly needed money and also the virus. I’m glad I’m not the one having to make the decision!

  2. calmkate says:

    Congrats on getting the call for surgery and the haircut … doesn’t rain it pours! You sound super busy so let the blogging go, plant those annuals and relax …

    Best way to heal quickly is to be relaxed, take care, sure it will go well … you are in my thoughts and prayers 🙂

  3. I hope your shoulder heals fast and things are back to normal for you. I wish everyone would wear masks here but we do have some people who have made it a political thing here in our country it seems. Mostly here in our state everything is slowly getting back to normal with stores opening and there are a lot of people who are wearing masks so that is nice. Have a great weekend and keep safe out there.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks so much, LRH. It seems like the best thing we can all do now that things are opening up is to protect ourselves. Given the large gatherings we’re starting to see everywhere, including in Toronto where the numbers of cases haven’t gone down the way they’re supposed to, I think we’re going to see new hotspots in many places. We can at least continue to practice social distancing ourselves and use masks when it makes sense. Thanks again for your well wishes. Stay safe!

  4. barryh says:

    Sounds like you got covid-19 nailed. Not so, good old UK, nearly 40000 deaths, well actually many more. And arguing about whether 1 year of youngest children can go back to school, and whether government advisors should obey the government’s rules for everyone else. Haircut – no chance!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Well, we’ve got it nailed in our small province, and now we need to keep it that way through border closures and ensuring everyone follows social distancing. Those are already big “if”s, since keeping our borders closed means keeping critical tourism revenues away. I’m not sure how long that will last. And Canada overall has some huge challenges, primarily in our largest-by-far provinces, Ontario and Quebec. And if Canada’s border with the US gets opened up, all bets are off. Just keep Dominic Cummings away from us! 😏

  5. Poor New Brunswick! But there is something unique about being the underdog. 🙂 The gatherings of 50 kind of scare me, so I hope that date isn’t too optimistic. I still get nervous if the grocery aisle I’m in has three people in it.

    Good luck with that surgery. Some people will do anything apparently to get a COVID test! (just kidding) 🙂 – Marty

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Yes, it’s hard to even imagine what an outdoor event would be that had 50 people but all self-distancing! Maybe an extremely large outdoor restaurant? I’m going to stick to small groups – very small. However, my husband is really looking forward to the possibility of playing pickleball again. Meanwhile, I’ll nurse my recovering upper left quadrant and practice my 1-handed typing! Thanks, Marty.

  6. iidorun says:

    Wow! Your province sounds like a lovely place where people are willing to do their best for public health. When we lived in New Hampshire, we did drive through there to get to PEI for vacation one summer. Our state is also heading towards yellow, despite our numbers are significantly higher than yours. We will still be staying at home for the next few weeks. Good luck on your surgery!! A haircut is definitely a great idea – you probably won’t be able to lift your arm for a bit after the surgery is complete. Will say a prayer and send you some healing vibes…

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Irma. You lived in NH once?! And on the west coast? And elsewhere? You get around. I’m glad you’ve been to the Maritimes and drove through our drive-through province! You’re right about the hair care for 6 weeks after, hmm, not sure how that part is going to work out. Prays and healing vibes always welcome!

      • iidorun says:

        Yes, we lived in NH for 15 years before moving to CA and now in PA, all due to my husband’s career. We really loved that drive through Maine and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We did it in a black camaro – this was before kids, of course. I recommend baths and having a trusted partner wash your hair for you. One armed hair washing doesn’t really work very well! 😉

  7. Congratulations to New Brunswick on controlling that virus. Here in Erie County, NY, we’re up to 5400 cases and over 400 deaths. Regardless, we’re currently in Phase I reopening, with Phase II to start the first week in June. I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, but I think it will all work out.

    Good luck with your surgery. You’ll feel so much better after the surgery and the rehab period.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks so much, Cordelia’s Mom. Yes, your corner of the world has been hit hard. We have lots of close family just across the lake in the Toronto area. They’ve been hit hard, too, and Quebec even worse. That’s why we’ve got our borders closed! It’s tough, isn’t it. Most of us here are acting and feeling no different than you are,nervous. I think most of us are going to feel more comfortable remaining cautious. Thanks for the encouragement about the surgery. That relief is exactly what I’m expecting, after lots of serious rehab. Stay safe.

  8. dfolstad58 says:

    That’s good news Jane that you get to get your surgery done sooner. Big plus also you can get your hair done first. I definitely would like to visit New Brunswick sometime. I have seen and heard much about your province and the people I’ve met from there told me that the food there is better than anywhere else in Canada. With temptation like that you know I want to visit!
    I hope everything works out even better than expected.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks so much, David. Yes, starting off with normal-looking hair after ten weeks is definitely an unexpected plus. If you get the chance to head east, you’ll have to let me know. If you like lobster, the food is definitely worth the trip! Thanks for the encouraging words.

  9. That is wonderful news Jane, good luck with keeping the ducks in line. Let Howard do the gardening. I am sure you will be back blogging sooner than you say. You can after all talk to software.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Tim. The amount of gardening we do, we’ll have it done before Wed! I think you’re right about the blogging, but I’d take 1-handed typing over voice recognition software. Although …

      • HI from Sheila- typing with one hand. It will be great to have the shoulder fixed and yes, we are fortunate.

        • Jane Fritz says:

          Aha. If you can type with one hand I should be able to as well. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to drive for at least 6 weeks, so I may to call in my spousal reserve for mobility. Fortunate in that regard, too.

  10. Jane that is fantastic news and certainly better earlier than later! Maybe by the time you are into recovery we may be able to visit again which would be lovely. I haven’t tried the voice recognition programs but one of those may be a better way to keep blogging? Either way we will miss you and your blogs!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Wayne. Yes, with a little luck we might have a 3-province Maritime bubble by mid-June or Canada Day. Would be awesome. I’ve used voice recognition software, back when I had rotator cuff injuries years ago that undoubtedly got me into this mess. My preference would be for 1-hand typing! 😏

  11. Jill davies says:

    Wow, May 27 is only 5 days from now! I am very happy you’re able to get this shoulder replaced, Jane, as it one one of the first things you mentioned when we met in March. I actually have never known anyone who has had a shoulder replacement but several friends have had rotator cuff surgery and all that entails, Including lots of physio and patience.

    I wish you the very best and will miss your blogs. Wayne and I will stay in touch while you’re recovering.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Jill. Happily, I know one person, and she says it’s well worth it. Yes, lots of rehab after the first 6 weeks in a sling. Big question: should I clean the house before Wednesday?!

  12. Sheila Walkington says:

    Wow, nice work New Brunswick!! It does sound almost too good to be true!! Enjoy your new found freedoms and best of luck w the surgery. Hopefully all goes well and that the recovery is quick! Take care!!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Sheila. I think the newfound freedom will seem a bit strange. And most stores are only opening for curbside pickup because the logistics are just too challenging for in-store customers. However, no complaints, none at all. I can order online with one hand while my other one heals! 😘

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