EDITORIAL: Despite oncoming COVID-19 wave, County remains Xanadu to some

Prince Edward County remained as green as grass in the latest release of confirmed cases of COVID-19 by the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

On Tuesday, Public Health announced a pair of cases had been confirmed in the region but their multi-coloured online dashboard indicates neither patient lives in Prince Edward County and all cases here have been resolved.

Green is good.

That’s a bit of encouraging news for the mean time as cases of coronavirus spike in Ottawa to perviously unseen levels and the escalation in the Toronto area is unrelenting.

But County residents can be forgiven if they thought they were living in some kind of cosmic gag reel this Thanksgiving weekend.

After being told by the Premier of Ontario folks should limit their family gatherings, most local residents adhered to that advice and kept their turkey meal small. “This year, we will have to make adjustments in order to ensure everyone remains healthy and safe,” Premier Ford told Ontarians on Saturday. “On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, it’s not enough to limit the size of Thanksgiving gatherings to 10 people or less. We must all do our part to keep gathering sizes small by sticking to our immediate households.” Ford also encouraged people “to stay home and limit trips to outside the home, except to go to work or school, pick up groceries or medicines, keep a medical appointment, or to exercise.”

As the second wave of COVID-19 starts to roar over the heads of every person in this province, its hoped these early doses of prevention will flatten this new curve and ensure all the sacrifices in the spring time were not made in vain.

With the ground rules for a socially distanced and limited holiday away from your extended family laid out, you can imagine the bewildered takes from local residents as the scenes in the downtown cores and various hotspots in Prince Edward County on Saturday and Sunday indicated a large section of visitors must have missed some or all of Premier Ford’s pleas.

This corner has hammered away all summer at the dangers of literally living and dying by our chosen and primary economic driver in the age of the pandemic to the point where we’ve been called ‘a grouchy old man’. We relish the sentiment.

But surely someone else must see the hypocrisy hiding in plain sight in Prince Edward County every weekend.

It hangs forever over this municipality like the diesel fumes from the Toronto tour bus that made a pit stop in Picton on Sunday en route to Gananoque before returning home to the Big Smoke after a three day sojourn.

This community and others like it sacrificed so much over the spring when the provincially mandated shutdowns and restrictions came.

PECI was finally able to host its graduation on Thursday and Friday, replete with all the personal protective equipment and maintaining physical distancing.

Maybe the wonderful organizers, the moms and dads and dedicated teachers who helped give the students some semblence of normalcy and close out the grad’s secondary school career should have rented a few tour buses and had a rolling ceremony.

Why not?

It seems as if this corner of the world remains a COVID-free oasis in some eyes.

If only that reality wasn’t a mirage.

-Jason Parks

PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY

THE DAY FINALLY CAME- After COVID-19 ruined any chance at a regular PECI graduation ceremony in late June, the school was finally able to honour the graduating class of 2020 on Thursday and Friday evening with a socially distanced, two night ceremony at the secondary school where students were handed their diplomas by principal Andrew Ross. PECI Class of 2020 valedictorian Nolan Steen provided his commencement speech to his classmates via Youtube. To watch Steen’s address, please visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIRRedB6Vfg
(Submitted Photo)