Public health director thanks Townshippers and reflects on Covid’s lessons

By Geoff Agombar – Local Journalism Initiative
Public health director thanks Townshippers and reflects on Covid’s lessons
(Photo : Gordon Lambie)

To mark two years since the pandemic began, the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS wants to thank the people of the Eastern Townships for their resilience and strength in the face of an unprecedented health crisis.

“As a society, it is impressive what we have gone through in the past 24 months,” a press release in French said Monday. “Whether in our professional, personal, family or social lives, nothing is the same as it was before.”

In the coming days, nine buildings in the region will be lit in green and white. This is to evoke the hope for the future while remembering the people we have lost to COVID-19. “Each of us has been able to face adversity and deal with the effects of the pandemic. Together, let’s be proud of the progress we have made in the past two years. Thank you for being at our side,” the statement continued.

A video message from Townships’s public health director Dr. Alain Poirier accompanied the release. Different spokespersons will speak in videos to be revealed on Wednesday and Friday.

Poirier’s video recalled the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic on Mar. 11 2020 as a date to never forget. On behalf of his whole team at Santé public de l’Estrie, Poirier thanked Townshippers for every gesture they have made to limit the spread of the virus. He acknowledged measures have been restrictive, but essential. “Your every action, sometimes very small, sometimes very large, day in and day out, has made all the difference. Thank you.”

Poirier took charge of the regional agency just before the pandemic set in, starting in Sep. 2019. He came from a long career in public health, including a decade as public health director for the province. At the time, he expected it to be a relatively short-term tenure, perhaps only one to two years. But last year, with the pandemic still in full force, it was announced he would extend his time for a third year through to August 2022. He confirms a successor is now in line. He also knows what his next project will be, although he is not yet ready to make that public.

So, this 2-year anniversary is a particularly acute time for Poirier to take stock of what has passed, and what will come next.
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