While people who contract Covid-19 should be responsible and stay at home so as to avoid infecting others, it is important to remember that the recommended period of isolation is 14 days and, after that, it is safe to go out, according to Grace Kearney.
Grace is the Project Co-ordinator at Bridgeways Family Resource Centre and has been helping a large number of Brazilian families who were out of work and isolating due to a cluster of Covid-19 in Ballymahon.
“We delivered food packages for 60 Kepak workers infected with coronavirus, while they were isolating for two weeks,” Grace told the Leader.
“We provided that service with the help of Longford County Council and the food packages we delivered were from Foodcloud, the local community and grant money provided by Longford County Council.”
Bridgeways FRC also provided a printing service for illness benefit forms, rent relief, and all other important Covid-19 forms, while also providing resources and activities for children.
“There are so many negative stories going around the town. A couple of people are afraid to trade in the town because they heard about a Covid-19 cluster in Kepak,” said Grace.
“People on the street are complaining that they’re out and about but they only had to isolate for 14 days and they adhered to it.
“They were in their houses. There wasn’t a sinner outside in the estate for two weeks.”
The Brazilian community in Ballymahon is very familiar with the services of Bridgeways Family Resource Centre, as the centre, before the Covid-19 restrictions, was regularly providing English classes.
“They used the centre a lot. They rang us for everything. We would help them with work permits, etc. We knew about 20 families, but they’re such a close-knit community that they talked to each other and we ended up helping about 60 families,” Grace explained.
“I’ve never been as busy. I’ve never had to go to people with food. I was here for 14 days straight delivering packs to houses.”
But her efforts have not gone without appreciation. Igleberson Almeida, one of the members of the Brazilian community who availed of the service while he was sick, told the Longford Leader that Bridgeways FRC was a huge help to him and his family.
“When I tested positive for Covid-19, it was scary/ we were out of work and we had to isolate for 14 days. Immediately we contacted Bridgeways,” he said.
“We needed the support from Grace and the staff as many of our friends and neighbours were also Covid positive.
“Bridgeways dropped shopping, food, activities & homework for children to our doors. We did not need to leave our homes as Bridgeways provided everything for us to stay at home safely. Many of us are now recovered and have returned safely back to work.”
It has been almost a month since county Longford experienced a dramatic spike, with over 100 new cases confirmed in the space of two days and the message Bridgeways FRC is putting out there is that the 14-day isolation period has long passed.
“They stayed home. They recovered and they’re back to work now,” she said, encouraging people not to judge others when they see them on the streets.