Today was interesting. Today I did some usual office work while social isolating: some teleconferences and some patient appointments and a few outreach phone calls. Then I recorded a new message for the Youth Program lines because everyone calling in needs to hear from the Clinical Director that we are closed. We discussed how to get this across definitively, because not everyone who calls for an appointment believes this. We are closed for teens’ safety, for family’s safety and for all the staff’s safety.
I am still amazed at how many people do not yet understand how serious COVID-19 is, do not understand what a pandemic is. I know that mental illness is serious and that people die of mental illness, but a highly contagious virus that is easily spread, likely to infect 30-70% of the population and result in serious illness for 7% of people and death for 1 in 100 people – that’s a game changer.
All of Canada’s news outlets have done a spectacular job at keeping people informed. The reports are credible, the information is accurate and free from bias. The journalists are so dedicated – there they are every day, performing their tasks as they always do. The one change is that some journalists are now saying at times in the midst of their coverage, “We are here for you, we will be here for you.” I find this reassuring, that there is this constant in my life in this uncertain time.
As much as doctors and journalists try to educate the public about the risks of COVID-19, there are still people who don’t understand how this virus will affect us. Today I decided that I would record the program message on our phones myself, in the hope that callers realize the seriousness of this virus to cause us to replace our face-to-face appointments with virtual appointments to keep people safe.
I gave the message forcefully, but confidently in French and English, with a wish that the caller and their family were well and isolating. It sounded clear to me. Those helping me thought I was clear. Imagine my surprise when one of the more common questions from callers still is: “So do you figure there’ll be face-to-face appointments in a week or so?”
Imagine a good ten second pause of incredulity on my part before I answer, “No, I think it’s going to need a few months longer.”
Today was interesting.