By Tom Rakocevic and Sean Delaney
I asked community stakeholders to keep an eye out for any stories of hope. I heard back from our MPP, Tom Rakocevic. We both agreed that now was not a time for politics, but rather a time for our community to help, volunteer, and care for others.
“I’d rather a war than this,” an elderly neighbour said to me on Easter Sunday. “At least in war, you know your enemy.”
Unlike in war, humanity has united to face COVID-19 as nations around the world collaborate to find a cure, share resources, and protect the most vulnerable among us. The stories of charity and goodwill are a bright light during these challenging times.
We are all have our own unique stories. Here are just a few of the many hundreds I have heard.
Public Health helps essential local business operate safely - Adnan “The Phone Fixer” runs a tech repair shop here in Humber River-Black Creek. His business was deemed essential as people rely on their mobile devices to work from home.
Public Health visited Adnan’s business to ensure he was following safety guidelines.
“They taught me how to keep my place safe for both myself and my customers,” he said. “I really appreciate their work.”
Currently, Adnan has reduced store hours, only allows one customer in at a time, keeps surfaces sanitized and installed a plastic shield at his counter.
While his business has slowed, Adnan said the more significant time he now spends with his family has been a blessing.
“Before COVID, the only time I could enjoy dinner with my family was on weekends.”
His story shows the effort of Public Health to ensure essential businesses are following health and safety guidelines. Business owners are struggling during these times and also put themselves at risk to serve us.
Family recovers from COVID-19 - Jasmine tested positive for COVID-19, and believes she got it during an outbreak at the private gym she attends in Vaughan.
She did not notice anyone with symptoms in her exercise classes.
“I believe they didn’t know they were infected. That’s why it’s so important for places to remain closed and for us to stay home.”
She became very sick but did not require hospitalization.
“It felt unlike any cold or flu I ever had, but I still count myself as lucky. I made sure my family went into full quarantine the moment I first got sick, and even before the test confirmed it. This virus affected every person in my family different, including two who never showed any symptoms. If not for Public Health information and current rules, my family would not have known to self-isolate. We would have made many more people sick or even worse.”
Today, Jasmine and her family have made a full recovery. Her story shows why it is so important to listen to Public Health officials.
Nurse Awaiting License Offers Help - Tanya is an ER nurse with years of experience in the United States, currently awaiting her license to practice in Ontario.
When she heard about the devastating effects of COVID-19 in Italy, she reached out to my office looking for information on how to use her nursing experience here.
Tanya painted a picture of what a medical crisis can become.
“People lined up on ventilators. Overwhelmed doctors and nurses responding to multiple code blues. Patients quarantined from loved ones. I think of the health care workers with bruises from medical masks. I think about how much they would appreciate the relief of more help. I think of those patients unable to have a connection with their nurse because there aren’t enough. I realize that we take a risk when we sign up, but weighed against the duty to help people in need, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
Tanya’s wish was granted and her name was added to a list of medical workers who can be called upon if needed. Her story shows the courage and altruism of our healthcare heroes.
In addition to proactive phone calls to the community, voice broadcast messages, and my recent telephone town hall meeting that I co-hosted, I regularly keep in touch with our community online.
E-mail me at: TRakocevic-CO@ndp.on.ca
Subscribe to receive news and information during COVID-19. I also post information daily on Twitter, @RakocevicT, Facebook, @TomRakocevic, and Instagram, @tomrakocevic.
If you need assistance or have a story to share, my staff and I are always here for you at, 416-743-7272.
We are all in this together, and I sincerely appreciate the precautions that we are all taking to save lives.