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4 reasons to feel optimistic about 2022

Just when we thought we were easing back into calmer waters with COVID-19, Nova Scotians have been thrown off course by the Omicron variant.As cases have skyrocketed in our province and across the country, we’ve been scrambling to rearrange our lives yet again and do our best to take things day by day. It’s been exhausting to face what feels like the worst of the pandemic after two years of struggle, with our health-care and front-line workers bearing the brunt of this reality every day.

While it’s easy to focus on the negative, it’s more important than ever to shine a light on how far we’ve come, remembering that we have the experience and the resiliency needed to get over this latest hurdle.

Here are four things to keep in mind as we confront the current – and hopefully, final? – wave of this pandemic.

We know what to do
It’s true that Nova Scotians have never before faced such high case counts in our province – and that’s scary. But buckling down and doing what we know works – wearing masks, sticking to our household bubble, keeping distance, staying home when we’re unwell and being kind to each other – is key to getting back on track.

People are getting vaccinated
Being vaccinated against COVID-19 will help keep you from getting seriously ill if you do get infected.

Nova Scotia has one of the highest vaccination rates in Canada, with 90% of folks having at least one or more doses (83% have two doses). But as we’ve seen with recent outbreaks, we need everyone to do their part to keep our communities safe and our fragile health-care system running. Remember: it’s not too late to get your first shot – book an appointment and get it done.

Don’t forget to vaccinate your kids! Children aged five to 11 can get their first dose now, which will help decrease outbreaks and stop the virus from spreading in our schools and communities. Booster doses are also available for Nova Scotians aged 30 and up; these top up your immunity to help keep you from getting sick.

People continue to help others
Across the province, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, personal-care workers, paramedics, lab techs and other health-care professionals have been working long hours (and in some cases, coming back from retirement) to vaccinate, test and protect Nova Scotians.

This includes Nova Scotians who have volunteered at our province’s pop-up rapid testing clinics and heeded the call to assemble thousands of rapid test kits for distribution at schools and libraries.

You can lend a hand, too
Nova Scotia’s Test-to-Protect initiative, led by infectious disease physician Dr. Lisa Barrett, has empowered people to contribute during this difficult time. The group is always seeking volunteers to staff clinics and to help assemble test kits.

We’ve seen this time and time again during the pandemic – regular Nova Scotians stepping up to help others cope during this difficult time. And there’s lots you can do on this front.

Consider donating blood. The pandemic has changed many aspects of health care, but the ongoing need for blood for patients remains the same – especially following the holidays. There are donation clinics across the province; book an appointment online at Canadian Blood Services.

Donate to a food bank in your area. Check the websites and social media pages of organizations serving vulnerable people in your community and see what they need – make food or organize clothing for a homeless or women’s shelter, drive folks to their vaccination appointments or deliver meals to home-bound people. Or if you’re able to, donate to these groups’ fundraising efforts.

Finding a meaningful way to make a difference in your community can help you get through this tough time.

What is helping you cope right now? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Nova Scotia quick links

Info if you test positive for COVID-19
Info if you are a close contact
Drop-in vaccination clinics in Nova Scotia
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19
List of COVID-19 exposures in Nova Scotia
Getting tested for COVID-19
Public Health mobile testing unit locations
Rapid testing locations
Self-isolating guidelines
Mental health and well-being
Nova Scotia COVID-19 resources
Download the free COVID Alert app