Regina couple making some noise for health-care workers on front lines of pandemic

A Regina couple has brought back a practice from earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging others to take time nightly to cheer on health-care workers.

'We go out no matter what,' said Lyn Hylton, who cheers from her balcony each night at 7 with her husband

Saskatchewan became the nation's leader in COVID-19 cases per capita this week. There are currently 199 people being treated for the illness in hospital, including 35 patients in the ICU. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country made a point of heading outside at set times to make some noise for front-line health-care workers.

A Regina couple wants to keep that noise going.

Lin Hylton and Keith Barton live in a condo near the Regina General Hospital. The two step onto their balcony every night at 7 with a horn, a pail and a wooden spoon to cheer on the health-care workers at hospital.

"It was happening everywhere," said Hylton. "My husband and I talked about it and thought, 'Why can't we do that here?'"

Now their neighbours get in on it too. There are about five people out each evening, but Friday nights are the biggest turnout, said Barton.

In the summer it was easier to get people to join in, said Hylton, because pedestrians below would hear and make noise themselves. The colder weather has made it more difficult to make things louder, though.

"That's something that I think we need to work on more if we're going to get more people outside of our particular location," she said. "That just takes flyers. We've done some flyers, and that's how the Friday nights became more of a deal."

Saskatchewan is now leading the country in COVID-19 cases per capita.

As of Saturday, there were 4,043 known active cases throughout the province, and 199 people in hospital due to the illness, including 35 in intensive care.

To date, 212 Saskatchewan residents have died from COVID-19.

"The doctors, the nurses, the health-care workers — we've known from the outset that they're putting themselves at risk on our behalf," said Barton.

"I think it's important that we get out … even if they can't hear us physically," he said, to let the workers know "that there are people out there that appreciate what they're doing."

Going out to cheer for the health-care workers has created a sense of community, says Hylton — especially in the early days of the pandemic. She has never had that feeling anywhere she had lived prior.

The couple haven't missed a night, Hylton said, including when a huge storm hit the province earlier this week.

"We go out no matter what," she said. "It's not like we have to go across the prairie. We're on a balcony and we're protected. There's no reason for us not to go out anymore."

Both Hylton and Barton want front-line health-care workers to know they are astounded by and thankful for their courage and the work that they do.

"I don't know how they do it," said Hylton. "It's got to be very, very stressful. Really stressful. But they do it and they're really inspiring."

With files from Shauna Powers


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