You Are Not Alone During Isolation
Melverta Wilkins, MBA, MSTD Hundreds of my Macon County neighbors are quarantining today because they, or someone they interacted with, tested positive for COVID-19. Among them are students and staff at Decatur Public Schools, manufacturers, care providers, first responders, and service staffs, just to name a few. Quarantining is a staple in our communal effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. It keeps the virus from spreading more rapidly in communities, such as ours, with stubbornly low vaccination rates. That does not mean it comes without challenges. A quarantine can create barriers between our neighbors and the critical services they need. Ordinary tasks, such as getting groceries and medications, become more difficult. In some cases, finding a safe place to quarantine can be a challenge. But the value of quarantine is too great, and there is no problem too small for us to solve together. That is why I am proud Sista Girls and Friends, Inc. (S.G.A.F.), is a part of the Pandemic Health Navigator program coordinated by the Illinois Public Health Association. The program enables health centers and community-based organizations across Illinois to hire hundreds of Community Health Workers to knock down many of the barriers our quarantined neighbors now experience. Because of our own Community Health Workers, S.G.A.F. can better assist those neighbors going through a COVID-19 quarantine. We can intervene so our sick and exposed neighbors still have food, medicine, utilities, and basic human needs that become more out-of-reach during isolation. We can also talk about the vaccine, dispel some of the misinformation that is going around (and there is a lot of it), and partner with local health providers to make it easier for people to get the vaccinated. I applaud the hard work and personal responsibility many have taken to prevent more families from being torn apart by this deadly virus. As the autumn months move more activities indoors, I encourage everyone to heed the advice of our public health officials and medical community: Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Be safe. Melverta Wilkins is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Sista Girls and Friends, Inc.