The CIRC is an active member of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and sits in the Human Concerns Cluster as an individual agency as well as the chair of the Volunteer Agency Responders (VARs). As such, our work during the response has been to support the national effort by:
National COVID-19 Volunteer Response:
The CIRC is the agency in charge of the National COVID-19 Volunteer Response, and has been responsible for the creation of a national volunteer database, recruitment of volunteers, creation and dissemination of an entirely virtual training and certification programme, and the deployment of volunteers to Cayman Islands Government partner agencies and other NGOs as well as via direct deployment to CIRC projects. Work to date includes:
- 291 volunteers registered
- 150 volunteers trained, certified and ready for deployment
- 61 volunteers deployed, most of them in frontline positions and are assisting with COVID 19 testing and manning and operating government isolation facilities.
Mask making initiative:
As part of a CIRC rapid response initiative, our organization undertook the coordination of manufacturing at least 4,000 fabric masks for frontline workers including police and prison officers. The homemade mask production was meant to supplement current supplies of medical grade masks, due to the worldwide shortage. Over 100 volunteers were provided with CIRC mask making kits which were made possible with materials funded by the Cayman Islands Government. The CIRC researched and identified a suitable pattern, coordinated the acquisition and distribution of all materials, ensured all items were sanitized prior to distribution to volunteers (many of whom were themselves vulnerable people who wanted to help and had the skills) and coordinated the drop off and pick up of items and masks, ensuring they were once again professionally cleaned before being disseminated to frontline workers.
- 4582 masks manufactured
- 4000 masks disturbed (at no cost) to frontline workers
- 100+ volunteers are taking part in the initiative
Education & Information Dissemination:
In the early days of the COVID-19 response the CIRC also focused its efforts on the dissemination of rapidly changing information to the public, ensuring that key messages were provided in English, Spanish, Tagalog and Portuguese. The CIRC immediately identified a gap in messages geared to children and from the onset of the response began work to create materials specifically for children to help them better understand key health and hygiene concepts. Among them: how germs hurt the body, the use of mask, the important of social distancing, and how to wash their hands properly. The full health and hygiene episode, which is making its way across the Caribbean and North America, can be found here:
Facilitation & Hurricane Preparation:
The CIRC has partnered with the Cayman Islands Blood Bank to help provide an additional safe space for blood donors who wish to continue to make this life saving donation during this crisis. The CIRC is also actively involved in the preparation for the upcoming hurricane season as the COVID-19 situation will impact numerous aspects of this undertaking, not least of which is access to shelters. The CIRC shelter, which is a 24/7 facility, remains the first one to open in a crisis and is ready and available to provide a safe haven for those needing assistance during the season. CIRC trained volunteers provide a myriad of roles within the national shelter management structure, acting as Shelter Managers as well as first aid providers, and due to the COVID-19 restrictions the entire shelter management training will be moved online once current practices have been reviewed and finalized to take into account the new realities and requirements created by the virus. Beyond that, the CIRC continues to maintain its 9 relief supply containers throughout all three Cayman Islands, ensuring that items are in good condition and ready for distribution. Work is being done to develop a new relief management framework that coordinates efforts at a national level and is responsive to needs that are specific to, as well as ensures compliance with, COVID-19 restrictions.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE CAYMAN ISLANDS RED CROSS
The CIRC has been in response mode since March 16, 2020 and due to the health considerations of COVID-19 the organization has had to suspend all non-response services since that time. This has meant that two main sources of income, first aid training and the sale of goods via our Thrift Shop, have been directly impacted due to the inability to provide these services under government restrictions. As such, over the course of March-May the organization has seen a 25% decrease in revenue, and current projections indicate a further 50% decrease by Q4 2020. The CIRC’s workload, however, continues to increase and the organization continues to deliver high quality services even amid these challenges. Now that hurricane season is upon us, it is crucial for us to maintain our organization’s resilience and preparedness in order to make sure we are able to provide assistance in case of yet another disaster.