Tobago health officials say as of May 11, entire families make up most of the 69 active COVID cases in Tobago. It means that families have to close their homes and stay at the state quarantine facility at the Scarborough Hospital, Fort King George.
It’s a situation the Beepath family- mother, daughter, son, granddaughter, and daughter-in-law, experienced last August after testing positive for COVID-19.
Only the youngest member, a three-year-old, tested negative. However, without anyone at home to take care of him, he too stayed at the facility.
At first, the Beepath family sought help from their relatives in Trinidad.
However, when the family member attempted to take the child, the police and health officials stopped them at the airport.
“The officials said the child might expose others to the virus,” recounted the matriarchal figure of the family -Tobago Hindu Society President Pulwaty Beepath.
She recalled that it was early days yet for the pandemic, and one male member of the family, unable to get a bed at the Scarborough COVID facility, began Facebook live sessions until he received one.
Beepath told Guardian Media those were “extremely trying times.”
The first family to stay at that facility, said they sought spiritual sustenance to see them through the ordeal.
“Prayers, we had prayers. All my sisters, brother-in-law in Trinidad prayed. When other families heard about the COVID situation we had here, the Pundit too began to pray. I must thank the people in Tobago. I must thank all the pastors in Tobago, including Pentecostal pastor Frank and the Seventh Day Adventist pastors.”
The Hindu Society President said while at the Tobago COVID facility, members of her family led other patients in prayer.
“My little granddaughter would sing, dance, and bring people together, every evening. Patients used to look forward to the prayers,” she said.
She said although the situation is over, she still remembers that she began feeling ill after visiting her COVID positive daughter in Trinidad.
“My daughter did not know she was ill. It’s was only after she got sick that she knew her status. Otherwise, she would not have exposed me to it. Family is everything, and we have to preserve our families. It may be all we have.”
Beepath had this advice for families now facing the same ordeal.
“Families should stick together. Take the necessary precautions. Help one another.”
She said her family is now closer than ever and she wants people to know there is life after COVID.