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COVID-19 – An Unprecedented and Fluid Situation

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There are many adjectives being used to describe COVID-19 – my favourite ones are unprecedented and fluid. This is by far one of the toughest pieces I have had to write – because the situation is so rapidly evolving, by the time I file this, and it is posted, so much could have changed. But, here are a few reminders from a local doctor, and the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.  

As of Wednesday, March 18 (10 p.m.) there are 621 COVID-19 cases in Canada with 119 in Alberta. Wood Buffalo is luckily still sitting at zero.

“You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating, coronaviruses (COVID-19) are spread through respiratory droplets such as a cough or sneeze, and spreads through close contact as well as handshaking, and touching contaminated surfaces. The main prevention tips are to wash your hands with soap excessively, and to not rely only on sanitizer,” says Dr. Mobina Chaudhary, a local physician.

Dr. Chaudhary also adds boosting immunity with natural tips is important.

“It’s hard to not stress right now, but it compromises immunity. Try and avoid things that can add to your stress. Sleep well, rest, and drink water,” she encourages.

Murray Crawford, Senior Operating Officer for the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre shares his team is ready if the local situation changed.

“We have stood up the (virtual) North Zone Emergency Operations Centre and are closely monitoring the situation. We are actively planning for all possible scenarios.”

Crawford also shares a few reminders if you present COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

“The process right now is if you meet the criteria as outlined by Alberta Health Services (AHS) you should call Health Link at 811 and await a visit from our community assessment team to perform a test. While awaiting results you should self-isolate.”

And, lastly Crawford emphasizes:

“Avoid hoarding toilet paper and food as there is plenty in supply in Canada.”

Now these are some tips to remember. And, perhaps, the most important one, as we practice social distancing – don’t forget to increase kindness, which is possible from afar. Because, when this crisis is over – we’ll be accountable for our humanity or lack thereof.

Visit the AHS website: for detailed information on COVID-19.


Kiran Malik-Khan is the Communications Manager for the Fort McMurray Public School District, and national award-winning communications professional. She is a freelance journalist, a communications professional, and a poet. She loves sharing stories about unique people, events, and organizations. Kiran is the co-founder and volunteer public relations director for NorthWord magazine, Fort McMurray's first and only literary magazine. She is also the President/Co-founder of World Hijab Day Fort McMurray. A proud Pakistani-Canadian who grew up in New Jersey, she is a fierce advocate of Fort McMurray, multiculturalism, women's rights, and equality for all. Got a story nobody is telling? Send her ideas: DM and follow on Twitter @KiranMK0822.