We’ve been here before. A sudden crisis. A lot of questions with, sometimes, not enough answers. Where to go? What to do? Who’s in charge? Panic about schools, jobs, travel, loved ones, and medical care.

The recent advance of the COVID-19 virus, better known as coronavirus, is sweeping the country, and sweeping grocery stores shelves clean of products. But our whole world is now in uncharted territory dealing with issues we never could have imagined.

I’ve been meeting and conversing with public and private officials from the city, the hospital, local casinos, and others the last few days about the status of the disease in Mesquite. As of right now, we are lucky to not have any known cases of the disease.

I can tell you with all the confidence in the world, everyone in Mesquite who has a part to play in taking care of the residents and the community is working overtime.

As Mesquite Fire Chief Jayson Andrus told me in a meeting Saturday morning in the most reassuring voice I’ve heard, “We’ll get through this.”

Yes, we absolutely will.

Aside from washing your hands, coughing into your elbow, practicing ‘social distancing’ and paying attention, what else can you do as a citizen?

Let’s all try this – calm down.

Stop calling the hospital out of fear. Stop calling city staff, especially the Fire Department and Police Department unless you have an absolute, real emergency. Running out of toilet paper is not a real emergency.

I met with Mayor Al Litman and City Manager Aaron Baker early Saturday morning before they took off to Las Vegas for an all-day meeting with other officials in the county and state regarding the pandemic. Baker made an impassioned plea to me.

“Please ask people to be nice to each other and be compassionate. If you’re going to the grocery store, ask your neighbor, especially if they’re elderly, if there’s anything you can pick up for them. While one of our preventive measures to keep a physical distance from other people, that doesn’t mean you can’t check on one another via phone or email or whatever else works. We need to help our neighbors and friends and relatives get through this. Our hearts are our best weapon in this battle.”

Wow. Of all the things Baker had to worry about, he was most concerned about you and I being nice to other people.

Let’s try that.

People are working almost around the clock in their professional roles in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to minimize its impact on you and I. Bothering them with your fear and panic doesn’t really help anyone.

In speaking with the professional staff at Mesa View Regional Hospital, they are prepared for whatever they need to do. The Chief Nursing Officer is in constant daily contact with agencies above her in the food chain, gathering real information, knowledge, and advice on identifying and treating potential or real patients. Doctors, staff, and managers are much more on top of the situation than we know.

It was the Hospital’s idea to begin providing the public with a daily update of information pertaining to Mesquite about the disease. The Mesquite Local News jumped at the chance to help. And the city layered that with a new web site that will also give you current information about city operations. Use it at https://health.mesquitenv.gov/ to stay updated.

The Mesquite City Manager, mayor and council are staying up to date on official information and city operations. City Staff is meeting almost daily and carrying out their responsibilities in the most professional way possible. That’s not just dealing with the COVID-19 but also in keeping normal operations as normal as they can.

Some things and some decisions take time though. I asked about operations at the Senior Center and Rec Center. As of last Saturday morning, no decision had been made about altering them or closing them. That’s because there’s much more to it behind the scenes than just slapping a sign on the front door.

Trust me, city staff is not interested in anything but the utmost safety and precautions for their patrons and their employees. In the case of the Senior Center there are a great number of considerations that must be made before locking the doors.

But, by Monday morning all of that changed. That’s the nature of the situation right now.

I’ve spoken with casino owners in Mesquite. They were taking extra precautions to keep their facilities clean and cleaner. But with Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordering all gaming machines be turned off by Tuesday night all of that changed. Now, almost every business is scrambling to figure out things they never imagined they would have to decide upon. Most of all, employees are lurching to figure out what they are going to do.

And then there’s the grocery stores. No one can answer why there’s such a run on toilet paper. I’m not going there. But what are you going to do with those 23 bottles of Clorox a year from now?

I must confess, I succumbed to the panic a week ago when I complained to a friend that the cheap bottled water I wanted to purchase was all gone. I had to buy the expensive stuff at twice the price. She looked at me like I was crazy when she said, “Barb, why do you feel you have to buy water at all. Your tap water is perfectly safe and tastes much better.”

Yep. She’s right. I was crazy.

Let’s all take a deep breath. In addition to all the health and safety precautions we’ve heard in the last few weeks, let’s add a few more.

Calm down. Practice patience, not panic. Be nice and show compassion to others.

We should all do that anyway, not just during a crisis.