Coping During COVID-19
How Boyle Street and McCauley residents are dealing with the crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s lives in Edmonton. In March, we were asked to stay at home and practise social distancing to help “flatten the curve” – to prevent infections spreading at too fast a rate for our health care system to keep up. Many also had to self-quarantine after returning from abroad or due to having symptoms of illness (whether of COVID-19 or anything else). Others self-isolated due to being part of a high-risk group such as seniors or those with autoimmune diseases.
“I still walk my two dogs twice a day around the neighbourhood,” says McCauley resident Joanne McNeal, who was self-isolating. “We all need the exercise and fresh “We all need the exercise and fresh air. At home, I am using the time to sort through boxes to clear my house of stuff I don’t need. That’s a win-win. I keep in touch with family and friends through e-mail and Facebook.”
Cleaning up appears to be a common activity while staying at home. “I am doing a much-needed cleaning, and decluttering my little apartment,” says McCauley resident Ellen Lambert.
Over in Boyle Street, Anita Jenkins had to self-isolate in mid-March. “I had brunch with my brother on March 15, and a couple of days later he developed symptoms of COVID-19. So I wasn’t able to leave my home at all, which is not my usual style. I was pacing like a caged lion.”
However, Anita found solace in watching a livestream of a musical performance online. “As part of #CanadaPerforms, Rafael Hoekman (ESO Principal Cellist) and Jeremy Spurgeon (Music Director for All Saints Anglican Cathedral) gave a free one-hour concert of pieces by Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Fauré, and Popper – a safe distance apart. This was the first time I was able to calm down and sit still since I self-isolated,” she says.
“We are immensely grateful for the doctors, nurses, EMS workers, and so many others in the helping professions and essential services,” Anita adds. “This concert made me remember, though, that the arts community is also a tremendous healer of our souls.”
Heart of the City Festival volunteer Charity Slobod stocked up on music. “I use my home as a tiny dance studio when I need to expel some energy. I bought a whole bunch of $1 records from Freecloud Records to keep the groove going,” she says, adding that she used the store’s safe and sanitary curbside pickup service.
Krista Mitton, who lives in McCauley, is balancing the demands of working at home and caring for her young children. “We go for dog walks in the River Valley each day (looking for gold or dinosaur eggs). We dressed up like for Halloween and went trick-or-treating in the house. I’m not getting much work done, but having fun with the kids!”
Boyle Street resident and writer Candas Jane Dorsey has a philosophical observation about this unusual and difficult time. “A weird shift happens. Suddenly this small life becomes all there is. Like being in a spaceship. On our way to somewhere but we won’t arrive for a while. Maybe we’re not sure how long. Each one of us is a colony ship heading for the future.”
McCauley resident Colleen Chapman lives with two roommates, and signed up for a couple of online movie streaming services for everyone to enjoy. She has also been cooking more meals at home from scratch than she has in years.
A high-risk senior, Colleen benefits from the strong sense of community in the area through offers of assistance. “People who wanted to ensure my pantry was full, ones who wanted to bring me anything I needed, offers of personal shopping and, finally, two friends loaned me their second vehicle, which gives me an incredible sense of mobility,” she says.
“I am blessed to be surrounded by people who lean in (from two metres) during traumatic events, rather than avoid out of fear.”