Bishop of the diocese of Saskatchewan Michael Hawkins is thankful for the prayers and support he’s received while in the hospital with COVID-19, and is encouraging people to be careful as the pandemic continues.
Hawkins contracted COVID-19 in mid-November and was admitted to the ICU. When he spoke with the Anglican Journal Nov. 24, he had been in the hospital for eight days and said there were no plans yet for his discharge.
Hawkins said his experience of the virus was sobering. “Having been in the ICU for two days, the seriousness and the lethal nature of COVID has been impressed upon me—and in my own case, because I’m not getting better very fast. That’s despite having taken all the precautions with hand-washing and mask-wearing, in public and my own office alike.”
Hawkins wrote in a Facebook post Nov. 21 that the complications from the virus included “some heart effect/damage that does not appear to be worsening,” and that his doctor “is very hopeful the worst is over.”
Hawkins appointed Archdeacon Andrew Hoskin as Commissary and they have suspended in-person public worship in the diocese. In a post to the diocesan Facebook page, Hawkins noted, “The [p]rovince may announce new regulations next week but I do not suspect that they will be robust enough to make a real difference.”
Hawkins says his main appeal is for people to “take it seriously.” He also wants to encourage prayer for those affected by the virus. “In the hospital at this time, there are a lot of elders, there are a lot of people who are alone, apart from their family and scared and quite sick.”
In his case, he says, he has been “completely overwhelmed and uplifted by the prayer and care of the church across the country.
“It’s been one of the most moving things of my whole life. I just feel people with me.”
Diocesan Indigenous Bishop Adam Halkett was also diagnosed with COVID-19 around the same time. While he had been concerned about a potential diocesan outbreak, Hawkins said he was relieved to hear that the timing of the two diagnoses was a coincidence. “It appears that the transmission in our two cases were completely independent.” So far there seems to be no community or church spread of the virus through the diocese.
National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop Mark MacDonald, who spoke with Halkett Nov. 24, reported that the bishop was “doing much better, and his symptoms have lessened.” Halkett is at home in isolation and his daughter Katrina, who also tested positive, is feeling better.
“He is extremely grateful for the prayers of everyone. It means a lot to him and his family,” said MacDonald.
Hawkins and Halkett have also been in touch. “I spoke with [Halkett] on Sunday and he seemed to be doing well…. I joked, because we have this term ‘mâmawi,’ which is Cree for ‘together.’ I said, ‘I think, buddy, we’re taking this a little too far,’” said Hawkins.