Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7pm tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

COLUMN: Front-line workers bearing mental strain of pandemic

Cassidy Dankochik's column as seen in the May 12 edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Flipping through the pages of this week’s newspaper you’ll find two special sections with features on local first responders.

The Observer marked both police week (pages 11-14) and nursing week (pages 22-23) with articles, profiles and advertisements, and it’s certainly not without merit.

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But we should really all be celebrating and supporting all of our first responders during COVID-19.

They don’t have the option to work from home. They need to be out in the community interacting with the public, with no knowledge of where the people they’ve interacted with have been.

I have been able to control my close contacts, only closely interacting with a few office-mates. When I go out and cover something, as rare as that is these days, I am sure to keep a distance and be masked up, as well as keeping it outside.

While I might have to do that once a week, first responders do it day in, day out, never knowing if they’re interacting with a person who has come in contact with the virus.

Not only do they feel the mental strain of avoiding contracting COVID-19, but they also feel the mental strain of setting a good example. If you or I are lax with our mask use, or get close to someone, it’s no big deal.

But if a person with a public facing job has a momentary lapse in concentration, they are held to a higher standard. It must be exhausting.

So to all the nurses, police, paramedics and firefighters and other frontline workers — I salute you.

– Cassidy Dankochik is the Editor of the Quesnel Observer

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Quesnel Cariboo Observer