8 tips to stay safe in the time of COVID-19

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First off, observe social distancing. It is the best strategy to beat this virus. Keep this in mind everyday.

Inforgraphic on social distancing

Social distancing poster from @drgigiosler

Here’s how to stay on top of things:

  1. Don’t panic

    Stay calm. You’ll be unable to think straight when you’re panicking. It may help to make a list of things to do to prepare. Prioritize on sanitation, protecting the vulnerable (older adults and those with medical conditions/respiratory ailments in the family), having enough food, medicine, cleaning supplies and other provisions. Take note that “having enough” does not mean hoarding. The pandemic does not give us license to be selfish. Remember that we are all in this together!

  2. Get accurate information

    Don’t get fooled by fake news. Social media posts from unverified sources, especially those prescribing “immediate cures” do not help. They may even make it harder for medical practitioners to treat you. Generally, be suspicious of claims that are unsubstantiated, meaning not backed by facts or studies. Be more discerning by checking the source and comparing information from several reliable sources. Chances are, if they are good sources, the information will be similar. For COVID news, go to:

    It will also be helpful to get only the latest news to limit anxiety. Social media especially is currently flooded with COVID-19 posts that are unnecessary and only cause worry. In short, be more discerning about the information you take in. You don’t need to read or react to every post you see on the page.

  3. Follow health advisories

    As mentioned, follow social distancing. You may be sick of hearing this, but the best way not to get sick is to wash your hands properly and often. Don’t touch your face. Keep your immunity up by eating healthy, exercising and by drinking enough water. Let’s keep each other safe by doing our best to follow safety precautions. It’s not only good for you but for others who are not as healthy as you.

  4. Follow your company’s COVID-19 policy or plan

    By now, many companies are implementing work from home arrangements. Face to face services are limited, even suspended. Schools are closed. Colleges and universities are having online classes. If your workplace hasn’t released their COVID policy, ask about it.

    It is also a good time to learn about policies regarding sick pay and other supports. This is important in case you need to self-isolate or take care of someone who is sick. Private companies have varying responses to the crisis so it would not hurt to ask. Be familiar with the provincial and federal provisions, benefits and supports (such as EI). This is always changing so stay updated with the news (Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan).

  5. Be aware of scams

    In these trying times, it is unfortunate that there are people who take advantage of the situation to make a quick buck. Stay vigilant. Don’t click links on texts or emails and never provide personal or bank information online or over the phone. Don’t open the door to people you don’t know. Here are examples of COVID scams:

    • Red Cross phishing scam – Texts or emails giving free COVID supplies from Red Cross such as masks and sanitizers. It will ask you to click on a link to avail of the offer and then they collect your personal information.
    • COVID test scam – A call or text saying that your COVID-19 test is ready. You’ll be asked to provide your bank account details to claim it.
    • Sanitation crew scam – People going house to house saying that they were sent by the government to sanitize your home. They are actually thieves.
    • Donation scam – An example of this is a call from fraudsters impersonating the City of Brandon employees asking for donations to help with the COVID-19 battle. The City of Brandon has released a statement that they are not soliciting or accepting donations.
    • Canada Relief Fund text scam – A text saying “Alert: The emergency response benefit of Canada Relief Fund has sent you a deposit for $XX. See link. Data rates may apply”. It is a phishing link.

    Learn about other COVID-19 fraud on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre site. If you encounter a scam, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can also post in on social media to warn others about it.

  6. Stay social

    Social distancing does not mean social isolation. You may have to stop going out with friends for a while but you don’t need to become a hermit. You can still go out to walk, jog or bike. Call, Skype or FaceTime your relatives and friends to chat and check up on each other. Some people are holding group karaokes on Zoom. Want to watch a movie with friends? Get Netflix Party (free to download and use) or other apps that will let you watch movies or Netflix together but remotely.

  7. Check up on neighbours and friends

    COVID-19 high risk groups include older adults, people with serious health conditions, and immunosuppressed individuals. So call your parents, grandparents, elderly relatives and neighbours. They might need your help.

    Call your local grocers if they have appointed times specifically for seniors and individuals with disabilities to shop. It’s important that high-risk groups move within a less crowded environment and for them to go while supplies are still in stock. They may also opt to order online and have groceries delivered. Otherwise, volunteer to shop for them if you are able.

  8. Call first

    Call ahead if you need to go to any establishment like clinics or service centres. Check if they are open or confirm your appointment for the day. Remember that many places are operating on minimal staffing and those in the medical field are overloaded with calls. They may not have time to call you to change your appointment. Plus, operating guidelines are changing day by day (stay up to date about public health orders by going to the Province’s State of Emergency page).

Stay safe and healthy everyone!
 
Source of mental health supports: ‘We will get through this together’: Tools for Manitobans with anxiety over COVID-19, Rachel Bergen, CBC Manitoba. Accessed March 31, 2020.

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Community Resources

Are you experiencing anxiety due to COVID-19 fears? Help is available:

The new Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) Call Centre is open Monday thru Friday 7am – 7pm. Clients should use the call centre whenever possible, in order to follow public health recommendations on public distancing. Call 204-948-2888 (inside Winnipeg) or 1-855-944-8111 (toll-free, outside Winnipeg), or email eia@gov.mb.ca. All Manitobans will have the option to apply for EIA online by going to: Employment and Income Assistance.

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