Doctors from the CIUSSS[1] serving the SaguenayLac-Saint-Jean region are sounding the alarm. In an opinion letter published November 21st in the newspaper Le Quotidien, the doctors who sit on the CIUSSS’s coordinating committee asked for the public’s collaboration with regard to following the Public Health’s safety guidelines that advise people to social distance and to wear a face mask.

[1] CIUSS– Acronym for Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux | University Integrated Health and Social Services Centre.

Jacques Gagnon, who is the president of Imagem, a firm that specializes in the development of technologies used in the field of health information and administration, strongly supports the doctors of the Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean region. Gagnon, who is an engineer by training, works in close collaboration with health professionals, and he is of the opinion that following distancing guidelines is foremost a matter of respect.

Gagnon observes that every day, in addition to doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists, there are teachers, personal support workers and many workers in other fields who put their lives at risk. They are on the frontline providing essential services. They make huge personal sacrifices on a daily basis to help the population. Not following the public health’s guidelines is a show of disrespect to these workers and a lack of appreciation of the work they do.       

At this time, it’s clear that the Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean region is not doing very well case wise. Every day, the report of hundreds of new COVID-19 cases casts a spotlight on the region for all the wrong reasons.

Jacques Gagnon believes that it’s time for people to take this matter seriously. People have to stop behaving childishly. Truth is that we hardly know anything about this virus. Scientists can hypothesize and anticipate some consequences, but we don’t have any experience in dealing with what is happening. We ignore what kind of long-term side effects the virus might have on our health and on our lives. There are no guarantees even if we do develop a vaccine. Now more than ever, we must be vigilant, we must be concerned with what is happening and we must do what it takes to come out on top.

United We Stand Against the Virus

According to Gagnon, the Quebec provincial government must send a clear message to the population. There is no room for half measures like relaxing the rules for the upcoming holiday season. He also imagines that if things don’t get better, even Santa might need to be put on a ventilator. It doesn’t take a million ailing patients to overwhelm our health system. Our system is already hard pressed. We must protect our frontline workers and the members of their families. Gagnon maintains that social distancing is the key.   

As for those who think they are immune to the risks, and worst, who allege a conspiracy, the founder of Imagem offers words of caution. Reliable and credible sources of information help the quest for truth. Scientists do not possess absolute knowledge. The very essence of a scientist lies justly in having no certainty and this is why they keep on studying, observing and comparing while pursuing the objective of truth. The strategy they propose to limit the spread of the virus represents the best hope of a real solution.  

Within his field of expertise, Jacques Gagnon favours this same scientific approach when undertaking a new project or whenever he needs to intervene in a situation. “Facts” – that’s the only thing that provides certainty.

In support of the message sent by the doctors of the region, Gagnon, in turn, invites the population to do its part in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. The Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean must reverse the cycle. For the common good of all people and for the protection of essential workers and their family members, let’s follow the guidelines put in place by Public Health, let’s practice social distancing and let’s stand in solidarity.

Jacques Gagnon wishes to remind people that showing respect for frontline workers is a show of respect for life.