Week of May 21

Lockdown at local retirement home taking big toll on elderly

Sir: As we all know, those who live in elderly care homes make up one of society’s most vulnerable populations.

Local homes have taken great precautions when it comes to protecting the elderly from COVID-19, precautions I’m very thankful for.

However, I would argue they’ve forgotten one of the most important parts of the job: meeting the needs of the elderly.

My grandmother lives in a local retirement home and has a plethora of medical issues, the predominant one being a struggle with diabetes. She has many needs beyond protection against COVID-19.

At the time of this writing, she has been isolated in her room, behind the same four walls, for 34 days. Her home has had zero cases of COVID-19, yet they are enforcing this lockdown in reaction to outbreaks at other local home. She is denied any access to the outdoors, and any form of exercise, two things crucial for her health.

She has been demeaned and berated for simply requesting exercise. The home has been tested, and all residents and staff receiving negative results, but there’s been very little change.

Residents are allowed to leave their room for one hour, every other day, and it’s ‘suggested’ they stay seated within a small area.

My grandmother is expected to go from sitting in her room, to sitting in a different room. She’s been stripped of her basic human rights.

The human condition requires socialization and physical movement for survival, both of which she’s been denied.

Our elderly need to be kept safe, not just from the virus, but also from the issues that placed them in a care home in the first place.

They need our help, and isolating them within four walls is not the only way we can ‘help’ them.

I am scared. I am scared of losing my grandmother to COVID-19. But should I be more scared of its social and psychological fallout?

Zoe Burgess

Sarnia


It’s time to reopen local businesses, city councillor says

Sir: I was shocked by the comments last week from Lambton County Warden Bill Weber regarding the reopening of Sarnia-Lambton businesses.

“We need to shop local,” he was quoted as saying. “We need people to support that little mom and pop business on the corner, the best they can through this time. We’ll get through this together and keeping those businesses open by spending money locally.”

Well, we would if we could, Warden Weber, but everywhere is CLOSED!

Grants, alone, aren’t the answer. People need to get back to work, as employers and employees. If we continue on the current path everyone will be bankrupt, and our domestic economy irretrievably wrecked.

Health is Numero Uno. But we’ve already proven large department stores, hardware stores, garden nurseries, grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices and banks, can all be open without negative outcomes, because they’re following the distancing guidelines and modifying their interiors with Plexiglas panels and directional arrows.

This is all working very well.

Following precautionary guidelines, every store and service should open up now. Local businesses are our community’s backbone, and revenue streams should start flowing again. Once everything is open again government grants will help with interior precautionary modifications. We definitely should NOT shorten store-opening hours, which only increases the number of people present at a given time and defeats the purpose of health protections.

The provincial and federal governments have issued directives but not strictly followed them. “We’re all in this together,” we hear. No, we’re not! It’s been an us-and-them scenario from day one.

Mind you, Premier Doug Ford took care of his golfing, boating, and cottager friends by opening them up in time for the Victoria Day Weekend. Does that help our local businesses?

When the issue of paper voting ballots came up, senior governments said they had no jurisdiction over municipalities. But when COVID-19 arrived they suddenly discarded the ‘no municipal jurisdiction’ approach and put us all under ‘house arrest’.

It’s time to OPEN OUR DOORS and encourage revenue streams to start flowing again!

Coun. Margaret Bird

Sarni


Current rules for prescription drug dispensing unfair and risky

Sir: In late March I submitted prescriptions for my wife and I to our local pharmacy.  When picking them up I was told that, to ensure there would be enough for others, I could get only one month of each of the five prescriptions, with two refills for each.

I have since found out that dispensing fees for each refill would be charged for each of the repeats. I find this hard to believe since the option of not filling the prescription for three months was not mine.

I also don’t understand why the Covid-19 situation has any impact on drugs use for diabetes, blood pressure, or cholesterol controls.

Justin Bates, of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, has said the measures are needed to prevent hoarding. Why would we hoard medications during the Covid-19 pandemic when they are not medication for that disease?

And how could we hoard prescriptions only ordered by the doctor?

The Ministry of Health, in a notice at the pharmacy, states there is no shortage of drug supply, and these measures were taken to ensure there would be an adequate supply for others.

There seems to be conflicting messages here. You’re admonished to stay home, yet you have to visit the pharmacy three times instead of once. And going three times instead of once puts me at greater risk of becoming infected.

And, instead of a one-time dispensing fee for each of five prescriptions, we now have to pay three times the amount.

This does not seem fair and breaks the government’s promised stance against price gouging. And people with many prescriptions are adversely affected to a greater degree.

I believe the current practice is unfair and only favours the pharmacies with extra revenues.

Murray Jacobs

Bright’s Grove


Palliative visitation rules are too hard on families

Sir: No matter how hard I try I cannot wrap my brain around the rules in place for visiting the Hospice.

Only two visitors are permitted, and it has to be the same two people at all times.

After all the residents have been through in life, now they must die alone except for two people? Who decides who can stand by your Mom when you have five siblings and they all want to be there?

As some restrictions are starting to be lift, why can’t members of a family be allowed to switch? Can we not have a little compassion for the dying?

I pray this changes before our loved one pays a price they should never have to.
Shelley Smith 
Sarnia


Thanks to the OPP, we enjoyed the sound of silence

Sir: We had a most beautiful Sunday earlier this month and it was all the more special because we were able to sit outside on our deck and enjoy it.

After an hour or so I noticed how quiet it seemed. The traffic appeared to be doing the 50-km/h speed limit and the bikers seemed to be complying as well, with so much less noise from their machines.

Hours passed, and I’ve never experienced such noise moderation. It was eerie, as well as something to be enjoyed.

Then, after about four hours, it finally hit me. I had counted at least six OPP cruisers moving in various directions over that time span.

We, along with the locals of Camlachie and Sawmill Creek, look forward to more of the same in the busy summer months ahead.

Kudos to our Ontario Provincial Police on a job well done!

Patrick & Cindy Ryan

Sawmill Creek, Camlachie


Beware the sowers of discord; they have their own agenda

Sir: Regarding the May 7 letter from Keith Patrick, “Arbitrary restrictions like those of a totalitarian regime.”
I liken this pandemic to an emergency happening to a family with teens. The family has to stop everything and take stock.

Upon discovering some of the things the family stopped doing must be resumed, it must decide on best practices, managing those teens that aren’t family-minded, and preserving the family. No one wants to invoke force.

The persons responsible want and need support, and are willing to listen and adjust. There might be a teen in there who needs a more forcible conversation, but that doesn’t mean the family is going to ruin.

The pandemic isn’t political. But it’s being made so by discord groups that mask themselves as right or left and have their own agendas.

Some interests work hard at sowing discord and fear on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for money. Our best defence is to be aware of that.

R. R. Huizenga 

Sarnia