BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Was there ever any doubt? Surely, you must have guessed by now that the COVID-19 virus and the ensuing pandemic was the number one newsmaker of the past year.
Our daily COVID-19 Updates have been viewed over 25,000 times since March. There were also several stories about the virus, whose popularity rivalled many other non-COVID stories in our Top 10.
Constant updates on the spread of the virus and mitigation efforts by the Ontario government and our own Grey Bruce Public Health Unit continue to keep us extremely busy at South Grey News. We hope that we have helped get the word out and report the facts about this pandemic in our community and publish the responses of our leaders diligently, in its face.
At certain moments, the messages from our leaders have been a little muddy and were even contradicted a few times, as everyone tried to get a handle on things and put out a unified course of action. From our report of the very first positive COVID-19 cases in Grey Bruce on March 14 — two 58 year-old residents of Grey Bruce, notified as part of contact tracing from a confirmed case on a cruise ship — to the most-recent Provincewide Shutdown measures imposed by the Ford government on December 26, it has consistently been a theme throughout 2020.
Early on in this pandemic, we published a special page dedicated to local business, where they could post their open or closed status, hours, mitigation measures, curbside pickup options, etc. It also contained important links to COVID-19 information, financial aid for businesses and various documents to help navigate our constantly changing 'new normal.' Many of these links were moved over to our COVID-19 Updates page during the summer.
We want to thank all essential workers for their bravery this past year. We should also thank the community for being so patient and understanding. Even though our mood has sometimes wavered, for the most part, Grey-Bruce has been a model community to the rest of the province.
Our front-line medial workers have been indispensable when we look back on it. Our local office of Public Health has also been a stalwart source of guidance to all. "I don’t have to tell you 2020 has been a challenging year. In the fight against COVID-19, the people of Grey Bruce have met that challenge head-on. For that, I thank and commend all who have maintained the diligent effort to contain the spread of this virus," said Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health.
But he also warns that we can't lose our resolve. "I am confident there is a lot to look forward to in 2021. The significant progress towards development of a vaccine provides a light at the end of the tunnel. That said, we still have several critical months ahead of us where we need to double down to ensure we keep everyone safe."
Dr. Arra implores us to continue to follow the three Ws:
"I know there is fatigue with this message but it is a proven way we can stop the spread of the virus. Your actions will save lives."
In September, Grey Bruce health Services published a video which summed up the year-to-date perfectly:
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