‘Stay home for us’: Healthcare workers share message with Maritimers from the frontlines

HALIFAX —
As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, people are being asked to stick close to home and practice physical-distancing and self-isolation.

However, doctors and nurses are as close as ever, providing care for our most vulnerable.

The Halifax Infirmary is one of the Maritime sites set up to treat COVID-19 patients. It’s also a place where doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are delivering urgent healthcare services that continue during this pandemic.

“We still come to work, we’re leaving families at home, loved ones,” says Chelsea Fraser, a registered nurse. “We’re coming into this environment, so we want to try to keep ourselves as healthy as we can, in order to provide the best care we can for people who do get sick and come into the hospital.”

Fraser has been a nurse for seven years, working in the OR at the Halifax Infirmary for the past two.

She recently posted a now-viral photo on social media, showing herself and other hospital operating-room staff sharing the message: “We stay here for you, please stay home for us.”

“We’ve seen a lot of photos circulating on the internet, a lot from the States right now, and we wanted to kind of put a little personal twist on it, and show the faces behind who’s fighting this in Halifax here,” says Fraser.

Dr. Mark Walsh is one of the hospital staff in the photo. He’s a surgeon in acute care.

“The nurses were doing it and they said, ‘Hey, Dr. Walsh, would you be OK in joining?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, it’s a very important message to get out.’ So that’s why I joined up,” says Walsh.

“I think it’s important, though, that people to realize that in order for us to do our job, they have to follow the recommendations of the Nova Scotia government, Public Health.”

A recent poll found one in five Canadians surveyed think the reaction to COVID-19 is “blown out of proportion” — survey results Dr. Walsh was disappointed to hear.

“If you’re just worried about yourself, then sure, maybe it is overblown,” says Walsh. “But if you’re worried about society in general, your neighbours, your loved ones, anybody, then you have to follow the rules because you are going to make people sick.”

Fraser wasn’t expecting her photo post to go viral, but she’s glad people are seeing the message. She also hopes they’re taking it to heart and putting it into action.

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