A short three months ago, residents of Salmon Arm and the Shuswap, were dreaming of the upcoming warm weather ahead.
We had so much to look forward to, spring and summer life in the Thompson Shuswap is great! After a snowy Canadian winter, people wanted to spread their wings and plans were set for spring break, when families could fly away or go on a road trip. Gardeners were flipping through seed catalogues, music buffs were purchasing early bird tickets to Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, hockey enthusiasts were eagerly waiting to see their Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the first round of the BCHL playoffs and plans were being drawn up for the annual Children’s Festival.
Foreshadowing of trouble ahead was announced on December 31, 2019, when the China-WHO Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology detected in Wuhan City. It was a new form of coronavirus featuring human to human transmission. On March 11, we learned the WHO had declared Covid-19 a global pandemic.
Here in the Shuswap, we watched the news media with apprehension as the spread of Covid-19 marched around the world – February 12, 2,022 confirmed cases in China; March 21, Italy with 6,557 cases; April 1, Spain, 9,222; April 10, USA 35,386 with 925 deaths. By contrast, Canada saw 222,148 cases on April 10, with 621 deaths.
Locally, it seemed the first indication that times were changing was when toilet paper and hand sanitizer began to fly off the supermarket shelves – the hoarding began.
On March 17, BC Premier John Horgan announced K-12 schools would be closing. Then it seemed almost daily, there was a spate of cancellations and closures of programs and services. The Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ BCHL season was cancelled and Salmon Arm Minor Hockey ended teams’ seasons, along with the KIJHL. The Children’s Festival was halted along with the Roots and Blues Festival, and more recently the Salmon Arm Fall Fair. All non-essential services were closed across our area. Restaurants, Bars and the Casino were closed.
Quarantining for folks coming home from out of the country, self isolation, social/physical distancing, hand washing and the wearing of masks became the norm.