Community Conversations Individuals

Terrez H. keeps a positive attitude, sees mixed compliance while canvassing

Terrez, right, puts up PrepareSTL poster at Employment Connection with instructor Calvin Burks.
Terrez, right, puts up PrepareSTL poster at Employment Connection with instructor Calvin Burks.

Terrez H., a 24-year-old living in Soulard, was surprised by what he saw in the community when he took on a weekend canvassing position through PrepareSTL, sharing COVID-19 information in hot spot areas.

COVID-19 Safety Campaign

PrepareSTL is a collaborative campaign powered by the Missouri Foundation for Health in partnership with the Regional Health Commission, local government and other community health organizations. The campaign’s goal is to help prepare all St. Louisans for the effects of the COVID-19 response, how to stop its spread, and how to survive the pandemic physically, emotionally and economically.

Canvassing involves talking to essential store owners and workers in zip codes with high rates of COVID-19 positive cases and putting up posters that display COVID-19 safety measures and resources. Terrez was assigned to the Grand and Martin Luther King area first, and later to the Broadway, Baden, and West Florissant zip code areas.

Community Observations

While many are taking appropriate measures, Terrez notes, “People are out here in groups, doing stuff that they can do at any time.” He and his wife went by a Walgreens on their way to one canvassing location and saw very little activity outside. However, he noticed a beauty supply store had a line wrapping all away around the side of the building.

Inside the places Terrez went, he saw partial compliance. “You would see a couple of people wearing masks, but then they would be touching everything,” he observed. “They would be right up in each other’s face talking and joking around. I make a habit these days to only touch what I know I’m going to buy.”

Some businesses wouldn’t allow him to put up posters based on corporate requirements or language barriers. He doubts posters at some small locations will have much of an effect. “People just walk in and out,” described Terrez. “They won’t even take the time to look at the posters.”

Staying Safe and Informed

Terrez and his wife are both considered essential employees and follow safety guidelines closely. They regularly sterilize the washable masks they received from his wife’s grandmother, and they try to do store runs as they are going to and from work. “Other than that, we try not to leave the house.”

He used to get his COVID-19 information only through the news on TV. Now, he gets useful information from PrepareSTL emails, including links to YouTube videos created by local trauma surgeon, Laurie Punch, MD.

To those who are worried, he says, “If you keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward, you’re going to be able to step over all of the bad times.”

For more information visit PrepareSTL.

To subscribe to Dr. Laurie Punch’s videos, visit Dr Punch on YouTube.