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COVID-19 quarantine: Sometimes the helpers need help

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When some people experience adversity, they ask why. Kara Shiestel asks how - how can she be of service?

About a year ago, Kara had a day like no other. She saw a man have a heart attack, a boy choke on his dinner, and a motor vehicle collision on the highway – all on the same day.

For Kara, the universe was speaking loudly and clearly. “After this one day, I decided that I needed to get first aid certified. I need to help people. That’s how it all started.”

She trained as a first responder for her region and as a medic for her local fire department in Alameda, Saskatchewan. Kara also trained as a volunteer for the Canadian Red Cross. She completed her Emergency Response Team training in December 2019.

Kara, pictured right, in quarantineHowever, after a voyage aboard a cruse ship for an idyllic Hawaiian retreat, 21 people tested positive for COVID-19, and all 3,500 passengers had to be quarantined. Kara’s role quickly changed from being a responder to a recipient of care from the Red Cross after arriving in Trenton, Ontario for a period in quarantine. Being on the receiving end of Red Cross support, after training as a volunteer, helped Kara, pictured on the right, deal with the situation for herself and others.

She knew how registration worked and what services were available so she could help guide the other quarantined residents.

“People don’t know what the Red Cross does in this country. They couldn’t believe the services that were being provided in quarantine. Trenton was stressful. The way the Red Cross presented itself, it was like a family, a community. It really helped.”

Having survived two quarantines, one by land and one by sea, Kara’s best advice to home-bound folks is to follow a routine.

“Designate mealtimes and walks, movies and naps. Learn to be patient and breathe.”


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