A lack of family physicians in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area is worsening. (Pixabay photo)

Opinion: Whether you believe COVID is real, Albertans need to do what’s best for health system

Alberta’s daily COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise with the hospital and intensive care numbers keeping pace.

In recent weeks, I have also seen our city’s numbers go steadily up. As of Tuesday morning the City of Red Deer had 408 active cases.

Today, I wish to tell you a story.

This is a story of my friend whom I know from working at the Advocate.

Last week, she took her husband to the doctor, to look at his foot. What happened to his foot exactly is not known yet. But from initial diagnosis, it seems as if something is stuck in there.

As the man is a diabetic, he didn’t feel the anything in his foot right away. The discomfort became evident a few days later.

Once the pain set in, the two went to see a doctor, who told them, the injury is serious.

What is the cause? The doctor did not know. He hoped whatever is hurting him, isn’t jammed into the bone. Because if it is, not a lot can be done and he may end up losing his foot.

The physician advised the couple to see a specialist. Until that appointment was available, the two had to drive from Sylvan Lake area to the Red Deer hospital once every day.

They waited it out – with anxiety and stress to see someone who would have proper diagnosis and answers.

The appointment call came a week later.

Needless to say, my friend has been worried, like anyone would be in her shoes.

This is a story of just one Albertan.

Now, imagine how many others there must be – likely waiting much longer to be able to access the help they need.

To me, this shows the pressure on our health system today.

On Oct. 15, there were 116 active COVID cases in the central zone with three people in hospital. About a month later, on Nov. 16, central zone sat at 447 active cases with three people in hospital.

Fast forward about a month, on Tuesday morning, central zone had 1,594 active cases of the virus with 62 people in hospital.

Whether you believe in the virus, whether you think it’s just another name for the flu (or whatever the latest theory is), you cannot deny this pandemic is going to impact our health system if the numbers continue to rise as they are.

It’s going to impact people who need non-COVID medical help.

Whether you agree with the way the government is handling COVID today or trust the vaccine that’s coming to us – you can’t deny there has been a time, or there may come a time when you or someone you love will need a health professional.

So, today I ask you to think about your elderly neighbour, or your friend, or your mother, or your child, or anyone close to you who may need that help in the weeks or the months ahead.

Because babies are still being born and collisions are still happening in our province.

That’s why both you and I have to follow the measures that officials have put in place so our system doesn’t crumble.

That’s our ticket out of this mess.

The vaccine has touched down in Canada, but it won’t be until late summer until a majority of Albertans have had their shot.

That means we have a while to go until things are back to normal.

The truth is, no Albertan should have to wait a week in pain to be able to receive some help – in a world with or without COVID.

We all must do our part now.

Mamta Lulla is acting editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

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