As the seventh case of the Covid 19 hits our islands many locals are currently in isolation. Locals are either self-isolating, or have gotten a letter from the government advising them to.
Sian, a local in Graemsay, who is isolating, said she is in isolation because of her asthma – a condition which affects her lungs and her breathing. If she catches Covid-19 she said her lungs would not be able to cope.
She said she received a letter from the government advising her to “shield” for at least 12 weeks. That means no face to face contact with anyone. She is not allowed to leave her house or garden over that period of time, although she does go down to the beach for a walk when there is no-one around.
She passes the time by working parts of the day from Monday to Friday. This also makes sure she has a routine. It is important to have a routine when you are in isolation. She goes out for fresh air each day, usually by looking after the chickens and walking the cat.
She said in the evenings she watches tv or films online. She also enjoys reading and jigsaws.
She said that initially she will be “shielding” (that is a group of people who are vulnerable to getting very ill with Covid 19 due to health issues) for 12 weeks. Sian said that she expects to be in isolation longer, at least until Orkney is clear of Covid-19 or they can give her a vaccine.
Sian said she keeps in touch with her friends using social media (Facebook and WhatsApp) and video calls them using Facetime, WhatsApp or Zoom. She prefers WhatsApp to the rest. She said we talk on the phone, and sometimes email each other as well.
She said, as ever, folk on Graemsay have been helpful, especially my neighbours Sandra and Michael, and the shops have also been helpful. They have delivered my food to the pier for me.
Sian said she has been working at home for 15 years now so being in isolation doesn’t affect her work, but it does affect her colleagues. They’re having to find new ways to communicate
Sian said that she is very worried about Covid-19. Usually when she gets an asthma attack the drugs quickly make her feel better, but last year she went to hospital and the drugs didn’t work. She had to walk slowly and stop for a breaths. She is worried because she knows that Covid-19 is even worse than that. Sian said she is also very worried about her family and friends getting it. Sian also commented that isolation can get quite hard sometimes.
There are many people in Orkney with asthma or other health issues who are isolating that do not know how long they will be in isolation for and are finding it difficult. Orkney is lucky to have such a great community that are helping each other through these difficult times.