Coronavirus support group signs up over 450 volunteers

By Oisín McGovern

A group set up to assist those affected by coronavirus has already signed up over 450 volunteers.

Galway Isolation Group aims to provide assistance to people who are self-isolating as well as healthcare workers grappling with Covid-19.

The group aims to assist the efforts of the state in combating coronavirus by supporting vulnerable people and families in isolation as well as healthcare workers and their families.

The proposed activities listed in their draft organising document include delivering food and medication to those in isolation, telephone support and preparation of meals for frontline healthcare workers.

They are currently engaging with the HSE and Galway Volunteer Centre to find out where the need will be greatest during the current period of self-isolation.

People are currently being urged to minimise contact with other people to contain the spread of the virus.

Founding member Niall Ó Tuathail told Galway Pulse that while the group is still in its infancy, he has been overwhelmed with the response to the initiative.

“It’s an incredible response to see so many people in Galway signing up. It’s a great position for the community to be in knowing that we have each other’s backs.”

Mr Ó Tuathail, who is currently running for the Seanad with the Social Democrats, said the group’s main goal will be caring for vulnerable people in isolation.

“We are looking at doing the shopping for people, taking the dog for a walk, getting their medication and doing it in a safe way that doesn’t pass on the infection. There will be no need for panic buying, as we’ll have people there to supply food if you have to go into isolation for two weeks.”

Mr Ó Tuathail said that group would like to assist existing bodies with older volunteers, who are high-risk of coronavirus due to their age.

“A lot of the existing frontline voluntary services would have older volunteers. One thing we might look to do is swap out older volunteers at risk.”

The group is currently setting up a support hotline and also wishes to provide childcare to those in need.

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