A group of volunteers from Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick is doing its part to help keep elders in the community safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With a half-ton truck full of cleaning supplies and groceries, Carol Simonson heads out into her community to help the most vulnerable.
“With our little project, it is giving people hope that there is still good in humanity,” said Simonson.
She said that many stores in the rural community have been running low on cleaning supplies since the outbreak of the virus.
She and a small group of volunteers did not want to see anyone go without, especially the community’s elders.
“Our elders and immune-compromised, they have so many limitations and we are doing what we can to ease any frustrations,” she said.
Simonson said she grabbed whatever she could from their own cupboard, collected other donations from the community, thoroughly sanitized it all and set out to deliver much-needed cleaning supplies and grocery items to people in the community self-isolating.
“Being locked down and not being able to go anywhere, it is difficult. So we are trying to do what we can,” she said.
Wearing gloves and a mask, she is careful to protect herself and others, she said, while she hangs the packages on people’s doors. Often her packages include a little note of encouragement from the community’s youth.
“We even have some kids that are participating and they are making cards so we can leave them on people’s doorsteps. If it is brightening someone’s day even for that moment, it means a lot,” she said.
Simonson says the pandemic has been hard on the psyche of the tight-knit community, but that people are following the advice of health officials and are practising social distancing.
“We want to brighten people’s day. If that means something positive rather than seeing all the negative, we are going to keep doing what we can do while we can.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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