Things are getting weird again with Omicron but there’s little consistency from state to state or person to person so everything feels even more nebulous and worrying than back when we mainly shared the same dismay.

Here in Oregon we’ve been under a state indoor mask mandate pretty much all along. There was a brief hopeful period last summer but the requirement came back in August. I know smaller towns can be pretty lax about it but in Eugene (where I live) it seems either fairly well enforced and/or people are willing to adhere to the rules.

On the one hand, I cannot believe we’re still dealing with all of this and I strongly empathize with the negative effects the mandate has on businesses (especially gyms) and I’m so disappointed that getting vaccinated (and now boosted!) isn’t enough and blah blah blah. On the other hand, I’m glad that the majority of the masking issue here is limited to the ass-painery of enforcement, as opposed to people getting upset with each other in stores and so on.

This mandate obviously extends to the schools, so that is our situation there as well: everyone is masked, whether they like it or not.

In other requirements and relaxations, nothing makes a whole lot of sense. I have to go to the hospital tomorrow and get fitted for an N95 mask in order to keep volunteering with hospice. (I have no idea what that means, to get fitted: I am sort of assuming they will eyeball me and hand me a small, medium, or large mask?) All volunteers were put on hold right before the holiday break, and I don’t fully understand their criteria for moving forward but I believe it’s by assumed risk. I qualify for “phase 1,” which means instead of being kept on hold I can re-assume my visiting duties once I get the hospital-provided masks.

Meanwhile, I learned on one of my home visits maybe a month ago that my patient had just gotten vaccinated. She’s so fragile, maybe there was a reason she couldn’t endure it before, I don’t know. (But YIKES, not on her danger to me but vice versa.)

All school volunteering has been on hold since the start of COVID, but our middle school appears to be re-starting it as of right now. I can’t tell you how much I missed helping out in the school and being around the kids and how eagerly I have looked forward to being able to do so again — but also it kind of feels like, are we SURE right NOW is the best time??

Of course not, right? No one is sure about a single goddamned thing, especially not me.

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Suzanne
8 months ago

Oh I am so glad that you are able to keep volunteering — that must mean so much to your hospice patients, truly.

Kim
Kim
8 months ago

I lost my administrative university job in November 2020; a job I’d been at for 13 years and loved. In the interim, I’ve been able to stay on in different departments & lucky enough to have kept my health insurance & my freelance work.
My loss is so very small compared to so many and compared to our society as a whole and I try to keep that in mind at all times.
At the same time, I’m so fucking weary of all of this.
Trying to appreciate the good things, no matter how small, has been an important part of maintaining mental health.

Naomi
Naomi
8 months ago

Getting “fit tested” (at least here in Aust) involves you putting a big plastic hood on while you are wearing the mask and then they introduce some saccharine (I think)gas and time how long it is before you smell it. If you smell it, it means that is the wrong mask for you and they try a different one

Pat Birnie
Pat Birnie
8 months ago

I am just so tired of all of this- as is everyone else. I’m glad your area has enforced masks for the most part. We were in Hilton Head SC late November, before Omicron, and masks were pretty optional. Coming from Canada we chose to wear a mask indoors. We are now in Panama and they enforce masking even while outdoors (unless you are exercising, so when running or hiking in a park they aren’t worn). I feel this is pretty extreme but I’m a rule-follower.

(Side note – I just finished reading Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner. – she grew up in Eugene, so I thought of you. It’s a really good book! Have you read it? )

Carla Hinkle
Carla Hinkle
8 months ago

As a reasonably cautious person who is vaxxed and boosted, and just got covid (mild and I’m fine, thanks vaccines!), be prepared for omicron to just rip through your town. It’s so ridiculously contagious. 4 of 5 household members have it, we are fine but we are not a risky bunch and we are all vaxxed and boosted to the max, and yet. I’m glad your hospice patient finally got vaxxed!!! Omicron is a whole new ballgame.

MCW
MCW
8 months ago

There are no certainties right now! After not seeing my mom for the year before she passed away, I’m making some choices to spend time with people and take some calculated risks, even travelling by plane. It does give me pause. Thankfully my immediate family is all vaxxed.

Jennifer
Jennifer
8 months ago

I was going offer up the mask fit-testing explanation but Naomi beat me to it! There are all sorts of different shapes of masks, some for wider faces, some for longer faces etc. When they described “how long until you smell the smell” I was worried it was going to be some horrible thing like cow manure. Fortunately it was pretty mild stuff!