People with disabilities have been following health authorities’ orders to stay at home to contain the spread of COVID-19 and so far remain virus-free, according to a spokesman for the community.
Public Relations Officer of the Barbados Council for the Disabled, Christopher Gilkes, told Barbados TODAY that while members of the community have been closely paying attention to the developments of the COVID-19 crisis, the majority of them have opted to stay indoors and find ways to cope.
He explained that members of the community have been depending on family and friends to run errands for them, including changing cheques and paying bills, as they seek to limit their movement during the national lockdown set to end on February 28.
He said many of them, through the BCD, received Government care packages, as well as help from charities.
Gilkes noted that as far as he was aware, no disabled person with whom the BCD was in contact has tested positive for COVID-19.
He told Barbados TODAY: “We are trying to manage as best as we can. We have been trying to stay doors and make sure that we don’t have to be out and about which is one of the ways to avoid coming into contact with someone who has the virus.
“We have some programmes, along with the care packages assistance that has been working well so far. So the organization has been giving assistance through other groups that would offer care packages as well.”
Gilkes said that several members of the community have told him that they would be taking the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine but some have indicated that they were undecided.
The Ministry of Health has sent correspondence to the BCD offering to make provisions for members to take the vaccine which authorities are hoping would create herd immunity to contain the virus, he said.
“Some persons that I have spoken to have indicated that they would take it, but some have not decided,” he said. “You know I guess that some persons are curious about it. I guess that is just like the average able-bodied person. But I guess that they would take it if they have to.”
The BCD spokesman also indicated that at this time, the various subgroups within the disabled community have been networking to offer emotional assistance to each other to ease the psychological pain the pandemic can potentially have on an individual.
He said those who are able to, have been reaching out to others to listen to their views and concerns at this time of uncertainty, particularly as it relates to the pandemic’s impact on the island.
“Persons are reaching out to each other even if it is to have a conversation to take away that form of loneliness so that they would know that someone is there for them,” Gilkes said. “They have also been doing different activities to keep themselves busy.”