Thousands of coronavirus tests donated to help keep charity staff and clients safe – The Royal Gazette
Nicola Paugh, the executive director of the Interagency Committee for Children, Families and Community hands over antigen testing kits to Latoya Bridgewater, a community support worker, and Tia Warner, the operations administrator and receptionist at the Family Center (Photo by Blaire Simmons)
More than 20,000 Covid-19 antigen tests were distributed to charities and other organizations last week.
The donations came after a joint effort of the Interagency Committee for Children, Families and Community with the Bermuda Foundation.
The 22,000 test kits should be enough to cover 32 third-sector organizations for about two months.
Dora Baker, director of Adventist Community Services Bermuda, said she plans to use around 1,700 rapid tests in food programs on the island.
She added, “We have about 11 churches and each of them has a food ministry.
“It takes various forms – for some of them they come to church to receive baskets of groceries, for others they come to receive a meal – so there is constant human trafficking.
Ms Baker said although coronavirus tests were recommended before participation, she believed everyone was unlikely to use them.
She added that a supply of antigen test kits should be “very helpful”.
Over 20,000 antigen self-test kits have been distributed to third sector organizations (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Ms Baker said: “We can administer the test ourselves while they are in line… hopefully we will have their cooperation for this, just to make sure everyone is safe.”
She added: “Usually they don’t necessarily resist what you bring to them, not least because you try to explain to them that you have to protect each other and also that if at any time ‘one of us is exposed to a positive case., the ministry must close.
Ms Baker added that anyone who tested positive would be asked to take a PCR test and the Department of Health would be notified.
She said: “I want to thank everyone who organized this and thought about this because it has always been a concern for us that when people come we don’t know who we are mingling with.
“Now we’re going to feel a little more secure because we have a selection process. “
An IAC spokesperson said that Vision Bermuda, which helps people with vision problems, has requested support “to coordinate a collective effort to provide nonprofits with antigen testing at low cost. reduced and subsidized “.
She added, “The IAC responded by designing a survey and surveying the third sector to determine the extent of the need.
“He also personalized advice for test protocols. “
The spokesperson said 31 organizations responded and reported the need to test 533 frontline staff and volunteers twice a week.
More than 5,000 kits per month are also expected to be needed to test people who use the services and have close contact with staff members.
The spokesperson said: “Responding nonprofit and charitable service providers identified a total testing need of over 11,000 tests per month to run a responsible testing regimen.
“The tests will help nonprofits implement antigen testing programs that can help quickly identify people with Covid-19, by informing infection, prevention and control measures .
“It will help nonprofits take mitigation action, make informed decisions and gain more confidence in the safety of their workplaces.
“The testing regime will also help ensure public safety. “
She added that a coordinated effort with the Bermuda Foundation was needed to raise funds.
The IAC reached out to Myra Virgil, Executive Director of the Bermuda Foundation, who worked with Jeremy Estey, Special Projects Consultant at CG Insurance, to get the antigen testing at a reduced mass rate.
The spokesperson said: “The Bermuda Foundation then secured the funds to fund the initial two-month supply – over $ 45,000 – through an appeal to insurers and private foundations.
“The Centennial Bermuda Foundation and BF&M responded immediately.
“Argus Insurance supported the effort by offering to donate all proceeds from the sale of antigen tests to their clients at the initiative.
“CG Insurance also donated 1,000 tests in addition to facilitating and bulk ordering from its supplier. “
The Bermuda Red Cross provided temporary storage and distribution space for the tests, which were distributed last Thursday.
Nicola Paugh, Executive Director of IAC, said: “For nonprofits, every dollar counts and this gift means more time, energy and funds can go directly to client programs and services. instead of being used to research, fund and purchase an antigen test. Provisions.
“It also demonstrates the benefits of coordinated and collaborative efforts for the industry.”
The spokesperson added that additional support would be needed to ensure a constant flow of subsidized testing to the charitable sector.
To contribute, visit the Bermuda Foundation Hardship Fund at www.bcf.bm, click on “Give Now” and select the fund from the drop-down list.