As B.C. residents hunker down for their second social lockdown of the pandemic, they’re also facing shorter days and colder weather.
That’s prompted concerns that the yearly experience of seasonal affective disorder could be compounded by the already stressful impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
Robert Grigore is a Vancouver counsellor who specializes in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. He says we’re about to enter a winter unlike any other.
“We’re going to get depression across the board, anger, hopelessness, powerlessness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, even suicidal thinking is possible, so it’s really, really important that we pay attention to what’s going on right now,” Grigore said.
A study from UBC found 65 per cent of participants reported “adverse mental health impacts” related to COVID-19 in May. So what can British Columbians do to cope this time around? Grigore offered some advice.
1. Clean your environment
For many people working from home right now, the living room or bedroom is also the office. While the idea of keeping the space clean sounds simple, Grigore said it can do wonders for your mental health.
“The right hemisphere of your brain is your spatial recognition so you’re picking up your environment. If you see a lot of clutter versus clean lines and space, it makes you feel differently,” he said. “If you’re feeling cluttered you can also begin to feel claustrophobic.”
2. Feel it
Being isolated for extended periods of time can bring pent up emotion to the surface. Grigore said it’s important to acknowledge it and get it out.
“Express your feelings through art, music, poetry, prayer, meditation and even a good cry can release some pent up emotions that have to come out, especially during grief,” he said.
This can also be a particularly challenging time for people who live alone. Some of the advice Grigore shared back in March is still relevant today.
“Things like really utilizing Zoom meetings and phone calls and really becoming active is useful.”
3. Keep moving
Even though it’s raining outside, Grigore said it’s important to not fall into the trap of curling up on the couch all day watching TV. He suggests indoor workouts, walks and even dancing in the living room.
“Even three-five minutes of movement can do a tremendous amount of benefit to increase your mood,” he said. “Put on your favourite music playlist and just bust a move for three minutes. Even if you feel silly, it’ll help you feel better.”
4. Work on yourself or your family
As people spend more time alone or with family, Grigore said it presents an “opportunity to actually make some changes in your life,” whether that be personally, professionally or even academically. He suggests making time to seek out therapy, deepen relationships with people, start a new business or even take an online course.
“One of the worst things for anxiety and depression is purposelessness and meaninglessness,” he said. “This doesn’t have to be a dark time. Even though it’s dark outside, it can be just the moment before it becomes bright again.”
Grigore has free resources available on his website. There are also a number of free online mental health resources available to British Columbians, including:
B.C. working on vaccine rollout plan as province records 738 new COVID-19 cases – Powell River Peak
VICTORIA — Provincial health officials say they are working on British Columbia’s plan to handle COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, says Dr. Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize the logistics around the distribution of vaccines.
B.C. recorded another 13 deaths and 738 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 29,086.
The province also issued a correction for nine days of case totals in the Fraser Health region, revising Tuesday’s COVID-19 case count to 706 instead of 941.
Henry says front-line workers as well as those in long-term care homes will likely have priority for vaccinations.
She cautioned that while the province has contracts with vaccine makers, there can be challenges with offshore manufacturing.
“It’s very much focused on who is most at risk and how do we protect them best,” Henry said. “There’s a lot of discussion that needs to happen.”
Henry said they hope to have vaccines by January 2021.
She said she was surprised at how quickly the virus has spread during the fall, and health restrictions imposed across the province last week are an attempt to deal with the sudden surge in cases.
Henry urged people to think of the impact COVID-19 is having on health-care workers, particularly those at Burnaby General Hospital, where an outbreak has led to 55 patients and 40 hospital staff contracting the virus.
She also pushed back against those who oppose B.C.’s mandatory mask requirements, over claims it impacts their personal freedoms.
“I have no time for people who believe that wearing a mask somehow makes them ill or is a lack of freedom. It’s a sign of respect,” she said.
Henry’s call for compassion came on the same day the BC Coroners Service reported 162 overdose deaths for October.
The number of overdose deaths has become “unacceptably high,” she said, while urging residents to show compassion to drug users, and drug users not to take drugs alone.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.
B.C. reports 13 more deaths and 738 new cases of COVID-19 – Global News
British Columbia reported 738 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 13 new deaths.
It brings the province’s death toll to 371.
Officials also revised daily case totals from Nov. 16 to Nov. 24, owing to data reporting errors in the Fraser Health region.
The correction saw total case numbers increase on several days, but also saw Tuesday’s record-breaking 941 new cases revised down to 706. Full corrections will be available on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 dashboard in the coming days.
“I know we had a dramatic increase in the daily numbers, that was a result of some of these data coming in at different times. So we apologize,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
The majority of Wednesday’s cases were in the Fraser Health region (443) and Vancouver Coastal Health (169).
Seventy were in the Interior Health region, 35 in the Northern Health region and 21 were on Vancouver Island.
The number of people in hospital climbed yet again, reaching a new record of 294. Sixty-one people were in critical or intensive care.
The outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital was declared over, but 57 outbreaks in health-care facilities — 52 of them in long-term care — remained active.
There were 7,616 active cases, while 10,270 people were isolating due to potential exposure to the virus.
About 68 per cent of B.C.’s total 29,086 cases have recovered.
British Columbia is aiming to roll out COVID-19 vaccines sometime in early 2021, Henry said.
The province has appointed Dr. Ross Brown, the Vancouver Coastal Health’s vice-president of COVID response, to coordinate the program.
“This is a massive effort,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
“(It’s) the most significant immunization program certainly in the history of B.C., obviously because of the attention placed on it, it’s importance and its speed and the fact that we are dealing with new vaccines. All of that adds to its complications.”
Brown will work with Henry on logistical questions about how to distribute the vaccine as efficiently as possible, she said.
Questions include how to ship refrigerated vaccine, and how to prioritize its distribution to health-care workers and the vulnerable.
Henry addressed new $230 fines, announced Tuesday, for people who refuse to wear a mask in indoor public places.
She called on people to be tolerant of others if they see them without a mask on, noting that many people cannot wear masks for reasons that may not be immediately visible.
The purpose of the order, she said, is to target individuals who are intentionally flouting the rules and putting others at risk.
“I have no time for people who are belligerent and are trying to make some kind of a statement about anti-vaxx, and think that this is not a truly challenging pandemic,” Henry said.
“I have no time for people who believe that wearing a mask somehow makes them ill or is a sign of lack of freedom. For me it is about respect for our fellow people who are suffering through this.”
British Columbia has received a supply of rapid tests from the federal government, but the quantity of tests and limitations around sensitivity mean they are not being widely used, Henry said.
The province has been trying the tests out in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where following up with someone days after a test can be challenging, she said.
Officials are also hopeful they can be used to help identify clusters of virus in rural areas, or in long-term care settings where they need to quickly assess symptomatic people, she said.
“We’re still working out what the best way is to use these tests,” she said.
Global News will host a live town hall Wednesday evening with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix at 6:30 p.m.
B.C. records 941 new cases of COVID-19, 10 additional deaths
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Report of COVID-19 death of Manitoban in his 20s was an error, province says – CBC.ca
The province of Manitoba says a report that a man in his 20s died from COVID-19 last week was an error, and the man is actually still alive.
The death was reported last Friday, and would have been the youngest person in Manitoba to die from the illness since the pandemic began.
However, on Wednesday, the death was moved from the province’s case list.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the mistaken report was due to a data-entry error. He said the man in his 20s does have COVID-19, but he is still alive and currently in isolation.
“I certainly apologize for any confusion that that had caused,” Roussin said at Wednesday’s COVID-19 media update.
“We have a lot of safeguards on the data and reviewing of that data, so I remain confident in the numbers that we receive. And we have a process to review and correct when needed.”
Watch | Dr. Brent Roussin explains where error came from:
The province announced the COVID-19-related deaths of two other people under 40 last week — a woman in her 30s from the Interlake-Eastern health region, and a man in his 30s from the Winnipeg health region.
On Wednesday, 349 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Manitoba. Nine more people have died of the illness, the province said, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba to 256.
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