COVID-19 update: Ottawa community

As the local Superior I would like to update everyone regarding the Ottawa community’s response to “Covid-living.” I would like to start off by saying that we are all still reasonably civil with one another after 2 months of being “cooped up.”

I am the only member of the local community who is presently working during the pandemic. As a front line worker at the Perley Rideau Veterans Health Centre, I am not really in a position to stay home. In fact, I believe my presence there is arguably more important than ever! We had a discussion among the members of the Ottawa community about me continuing to work during these difficult days. I assured them that their welfare is of primary concern to me and that I would do nothing to compromise their health. I take extreme precautions when I go to work and spend most of my time in my office talking on the phone with people I cannot presently visit (Perley residents, volunteers and other LTC residents to whom I minister). I continue to preside at the Thursday and Sunday Eucharist albeit with only 2 or 3 staff members present. Other community members are also doing some ministry over the phone or electronically.

I have been tested twice for covid-19 with another test to follow soon. Although we have had several residents and staff members who have contracted the virus, we are almost a week without any new cases and several residents have recovered and have been removed from the isolation unit back to their own units and infected staff members are returning to work. I think most of us who work at the Perley feel very safe as every precaution available is being taken to ensure our safety.

The members of the local community are certainly spending more time together

20200511_152133

Preparation for a dream garden … Peter’s flowers awaiting in the basement.

than is normally the case. Everyone is present for the evening meal and I must say we have had some wonderful meals. Even as I write Peter is in the kitchen busily and lovingly preparing what will be the latest of many gourmet meals. I have resumed baking pies (coconut cream tonight) and John has recently taken up this skill. We had a delicious fruit pie yesterday using John’s (with a little help from Lily and me) first attempt at original pie crust.

While none of us can take part in any of our usual outside activities we all remain physically active walking and/or cycling and trying to keep the house reasonably clean without Brenda (our wonderful housekeeper). Fr. Paulin in particular has worked very hard in keeping the common areas clean.

We continue to hold our weekly community meetings and are finding other opportunities (other than just at Morning Prayer and Eucharist) to spend time together. Some of us gather daily after the evening meal in the parlour to sit around and chat.

Overall I would say that we are handling the situation quite well. I am thankful that we are all in reasonably good health-physically and emotionally. I think for the most part we have made the best of a very difficult situation and are looking forward to soon being able to resume some of our regular activities-golfing, hiking, swimming.

I would be remiss if I failed to thank Lily Ooi for her presence and generosity during this long period of isolation. She has had no close contact with any others than those of us who reside at 192 Daly. I know she deeply misses seeing her family. She has taken on the job of grocery shopping (along with Fr. Bill) and producing many of the gourmet meals I alluded to earlier. Along with John and Paulin she has cleaned up the yard and planted flowers and vegetables.

In this time of upheaval and uncertainty let us pray for all victims of this pandemic; those who have died, those who have suffered emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or financially and a return to a somewhat normal life in the not too distant future.

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