Covid preventive measures are known globally; wear a mask, stay six feet apart and wash your hands frequently. What’s not known globally is the intricacies of how single parents have been surviving the pandemic especially those who test positive for covid. Tonya Jones a single mother of five says it was a nightmare when she found out that she was covid positive.
“I immediately went into a spiral, I didn’t know what to do.”
With children ages three to 15, the most frightening part for Jones was identifying how she would care for her children while being in quarantine. She relied heavily on door dash and instacart, she says these virtual delivery services allowed her to order her children what they needed in real time without her needing to come into contact with anyone. “Zoom was a life saver though, with the little energy I did have I was able to spend time with my children on zoom, help them with their homework and even fall asleep with my youngest two while they were zooming me from their big sisters phone.” Jones says she developed a system to create a new normal for her children for the 10 days she was covid positive. At that time Zoom was also being used for distance learning but her kids fell behind when she was in quarantine since she didn’t have the energy to keep them on track.
“Luckily, my 15-year-old was able to help out but I felt bad because that shouldn’t be her responsibility.”
After the first few days Jones says her mother stepped in to assist with her youngest two to ease the burden on her older children. Jones was helpless until she had a negative covid test more than a week later. “The last thing I wanted to do was give Covid to my children so I one hundred percent stayed away from them but the hardest part as a single mom I didn’t really have the support system in place so I was constantly worried about their care while I was trying to recover”
Issac Mohamed, a single father of a 4-year-old boy had to rely on his neighbor when he found out he contracted coronavirus at work.
“The department of health calls and tells you to go into isolation but doesn’t give you any resources. As a single father all I could think about is how do I isolate from my baby, who is going to care for him?”
Isaac says he found help in an unlikely place. Outside of “good morning”, “how’s it going” and just general small talk he had never really had a relationship with his neighbor but when she found out he was sick she offered to keep his son to prevent the transmission of covid to him. “This isn’t the case for everyone,” Isaac says that the pandemic would be more under control if resources and advice were given to families in situations like his where quarantining isn’t just as simple as locking yourself in a room for 14 days when people are depending on you as their primary care givers.
Now with the vaccination being made available for children ages 5-11 parents may be less concerned about their children getting the virus but with breakthrough cases on the rise it definitely still is a concern.
“I already got my children vaccinated, at least the ones that are old enough. I am not playing with this virus, I never want to be in this situation again” says Jones, who was not vaccinated at the time she contracted covid.
That wasn’t the case for Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan who announced on her facebook page that she got the virus while caring for her covid positive child despite the fact that she was vaccinated. Although Flanagan isn’t a single parent her situation raises thee general question about the best practices for preventing one covid person in a household from getting everyone in the house sick.
“I wanted to share with Minnesotans that I tested positive for COVID-19 after caring for our 8-year-old daughter who tested positive last week. While I’m under the weather, our family is doing well, and we’re thankful for the support of friends and family. On Friday, October 22nd, our daughter Siobhan tested positive for COVID-19. I’ve experienced a lot of extreme feelings over the course of this pandemic, but nothing has compared to how I felt when our baby said she didn’t feel well.”
According to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s hospital has a guide for keeping your family safe after someone in your household has tested positive for covid:
Avoid the Spread
Whoever tested positive should remain separated from everyone else and, if possible, use a separate bedroom/bathroom.
If it’s not possible to be separated anybody in the same room as the person who is sick should wear a mask.
If you must share a room make sure it has good air flow. Open a window if the weather allows it.
Keep pets away from the person who is sick.
Don’t share common household items with the person who is sick. This includes dishes, cups, silverware, washcloths and towels, and sheets and pillowcases.
Everyone in the home should wash their hands frequently.
Use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Protect yourself while providing care
Anyone who has contact with any of the person who is sick’s body fluids should wear a disposable mask and gloves.
Follow these steps to remove your protective gloves and mask after using them:
First take off the gloves and put them in a lined container for disposal. Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Next, remove the mask and put it in the disposal container. Clean your hands again.