Fairfield Human and Social Services adapts to coronavirus threat
FAIRFIELD — The coronavirus outbreak has kept Fairfield Human and Social Services busy and forced them to adapt the way they provide services to vulnerable populations, according to Julie DeMarco
DeMarco, the director of the town department, said they are very luck to be in Fairfield.
“From the top down, the leadership, planning and communication has been clear, timely and helpful,” DeMarco said. “What that means for us is that we know we have current and vital information about the spread of the virus and how the town is addressing things like public gatherings, schools, town facilities.”
While the Bigelow Center for Senior Activities has been closed to the public, DeMarco said they department is just as busy, if not busier, than they were before the crisis. DeMarco a list of 200 seniors to check on each week to make sure they have the food, medicine and other supplies they need.
“We are also busy preparing ‘shelf-ready’ grocery bags for the seniors who are homebound,” DeMarco said. “They should have two weeks of food that won’t go bad and we’ll help with that.”
The director said Fairfield residents are working hard to stay on top of their bills in a time when schools are shut down and jobs that can’t be done remotely stop. She said the public health emergency has people financially stretched.
In the meantime, she said the department is continuing to process energy assistance applications and screening for other types of emergency assistance.
In terms of safety precautions at the said they have been scrubbing the building and having staff take their temperatures at home before coming into work.
DeMarco said the department is continuing to deliver lunches to seniors as part of the part of the Older Americans Act Senior Nutrition Program.
“We have two buses, each with a social worker onboard, to deliver the meals to our seniors. Having a social worker go along gives us the opportunity to get ‘eyes on’ and make sure the seniors have what they need, in addition to food,” DeMarco said. “This is social distancing is so important, but that isolation can be challenging for those who live alone.”
DeMarco said they have to be very careful about the delivery process. She said they have to be clear that they can not enter the residences of the people they help, nor can they allow people inside their building. Therefore, they drop off the food at the front door once the senior is in view, step back and let them pick up the lunch.
“It’s contrary to human nature, but a necessary step.”
DeMarco said the situation is changing and evolving each day. She said with the most current information from the Health Department, fire and police departments, and the First Selectwoman’s planning and high expectations, they are better armed to protect our residents and staff.