Temas de Capa

O combate na linha da frente

Na luta contra o novo coronavírus, profissionais de várias áreas têm dado o melhor de si. Tem acontecido por todo o mundo: médicos cirurgiões, urologistas, osteopatas, bombeiros, polícias e muitos outros profissionais deixaram para trás as suas especialidades e agora atendem pacientes de Covid-19. Numa fase em que não há mãos a medir, em que são reconhecidos como heróis, temos de os reconhecer também como humanos. Como se estão a sentir? Como é que as suas famílias encaram o facto de estarem na linha da frente face a esta epidemia? Que cuidados têm para se protege?

Peter De Quintal – Toronto Police Constable and Community School Liaison Officer

Peter De Quintal

Milénio Stadium: What are you doing at the moment to help people get through the pandemic and what departments are you working with?

Peter De Quintal: Personally, I am telling my family and friends to do their best to social distance and be safe. Think about what you need to get done and plan it out as best as you can in advance. Professionally, very much the same, but I am also supporting 911 response and answering radio calls so that we try and maintain our service level to the public.

MS: Did you have to get out of your usual routine to face the new coronavirus? How much of a challenge is it?

PDQ: I would say always remembering to use our PPE and cleaning all surfaces as we use them. And to be aware that anyone can be potentially carrying this illness and to protect not only yourself and your colleagues, but your family as well.

MS: What have been your biggest fears and struggles so far?

PDQ: It’s the unknown. There are so many factors we need to consider when attending calls and this just adds to it.  I think a lot about not trying to bring it home and how that could affect my family life.

MS: How have you been feeling at the end of every day?

PDQ: Tired, most days. I think about when this will end and we can get back to being with family and friends. And I think we’ll be far more appreciative of the ones around us and what they bring to our lives. I just feel if people were respecting the rules a little more we could move past this faster.

MS: How does your family feel about you being in the front line of the crisis?

PDQ: One word… worried.  What happens if I get infected or someone I interact with at work is infected? I’ve already had one scare and it was really hard for my kids to understand. I just try to assure them I am doing my best to keep myself safe.

MS: How do you see Toronto communities responding to the quarantine and how does their behaviour impact your work?

PDQ: I think that overall we are getting it, I just wish people would be more aware of social distancing especially in parks and not to use things like park benches and playgrounds and just be aware of how sitting down for a moment could put you at a greater risk. I understand many of us enjoy being social, but this is may be a time to up your social media game for now.

MS: What is your message for everyone at the moment, going through the pandemic?

PDQ: We will get through this. I am always big on promoting community and coming together and we need that now, more than ever. If we do our part and support one another, we will all be that much better in the end. Please think about loved ones and neighbours and check in on them.

Kerry Schmidt – Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant

Kerry Schmidt

MS: How have you been helping people during this epidemic?

Kerry Schmidt: The most important thing that we have been raising awareness to is to follow the guidelines of Public Health: that is maintaining physical and social distance, making sure you use personal protective equipment when needed interacting with members of the public and being conscious of personal hygiene like washing hands and not touching your face.  I am working hard to continue to encourage awareness and cooperation with all members of the public to help flatten the curve.

MS: Would you say that you and other professionals had to get out of their usual routines to face the new coronavirus? How much of a challenge is it?

KS: Yes, there has been a lot of challenges with this new reality of covid-19. Obviously, the way we interact with public is different. Maintaining a physical distance, making sure that we are aware of new legislation and recommendations from public health, listening to our elected officials to see where the needs are. We are out encouraging a public to voluntarily comply with those recommendations so that we can all get this pandemic behind us.

MS: What have been the main struggles so far? What scares you the most about everything you have seen?

KS: I think a lot of people were not aware of maybe how serious this pandemic is, maybe not thinking it would happen to them. We all have this optimistic bias that says it will happen to somebody else but never happen to me. But when you see the numbers, you know that there is a chance and a possibility that anyone could get sick. I think the most important message to the public is that this is a societal issue and everyone is relying on everyone else to do their part so that we can get ahead of this issue, flatten the curve and get this pandemic behind us.

MS: How do you see Toronto communities responding to the quarantine and how does their behaviour impact your work as professionals?

KS: We have always had seen a lot fewer vehicles on highways, a lot more people are wearing masks and maintaining physical distance from others… but we still do see those who don’t think it is a big issue. That’s why there are bylaw and Law Enforcement Officers out there, encouraging people to comply with the rules. Parks and community spaces are closed so we don’t have as much interaction with other members of the public in the community and that will help stop the community spread of this virus.

MS: How have you been feeling at the end of every day?

KS: I listen to the news every day and watch to see what’s happening and try to understand how I can make a difference. And first and foremost, that is by washing hands maintaining distance, avoiding unnecessary travel and really at this point staying home if I’m not at work.

MS: How does your family feel about you being in the front line of the crisis?

KS: My wife is also in health care on the front line and she knows very well the risks she puts herself in every time she goes to the hospital. The kids are at home with online education and every day is a challenge to make sure we all stay focused on what is most important.

MS: What is your message for everyone at the moment?

KS: We just need everyone to understand that we all play a huge part in this, so follow the recommendations of Public Health: stay at home, especially this weekend when a lot of people want to get out with family and friends for holidays, but this is a crucial time of this pandemic that we need to all rally together and do our part to get it behind us.

Kevin Mcneilly – President of the Fire Fighters Association of Ontario

Fire Chief Kevin Mcneilly

MS: Can you tell us about the role of the Fire Fighters Association of Ontario in the new Covid-19 scenario?

Kevin Mcneilly: The role of the FFAO is to provide guidance and resources to its members in regards to safety and well being. We are the spokespersons for many firefighters in Ontario.

MS: How did the department dynamic have to change to face the new coronavirus?

KM: Many fire departments in Ontario have had put in place new protocols to address the Covid-19, but there has been some smaller municipalities where it has really put a strain on their resources.

MS: What have been the main struggles so far?

KMN: Most fire departments are low on supplies of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns.

MS: How is the population responding to the quarantine and how does their behaviour impact your work as professionals?

KM: Overall, the majority of people are following the rules the best they can, we are having little impact at this time.

MS: As a professional, how have you been feeling at the end of every day?

KM: Professional or volunteer firefighters are experiencing a bit of stress over this. And some firefighters who are on the 24 hours schedule are being affected much more.

MS: How does your family feel about you being in the front line of the crisis?

KM: Most of our families are very concerned about our well being, despite this pandemic, but I think we as firefighters are worried about being exposed and bringing the virus home.

MS: Do you have a message for everyone at the moment, to get and help you get through the pandemic?

KM: We all need to stick together and follow the rules and try and stay positive. Social distancing is one of the keys to help eliminate the virus.

Telma Pinguelo/MS

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