The COVID-19 pandemic has rudely interrupted different aspects of our social and economic lives. In addition to the health care burden, the pandemic has introduced new adjustments in the community engagement sector. The fundamental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on community engagement is that social workers and volunteers have been forced to minimize social and community interactions. This is despite the increase in social needs among communities that are in dire need of volunteers to help ease the effects of the COVID pandemic.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus in highly populated communities has made authorities in the health sector introduce measures, such as limitations in social interactions. Therefore, community engagements are minimized to instances of absolute necessity. Whereas this measure is necessary for helping to control and slow the spread of the virus, it leaves many other persons within the communities in dire need of social and financial assistance.
The burden that communities are exposed to as a result of healthcare and financial needs is prompting more charity organizations and community outreach programs to respond differently. All charity organizations, for example, focus on providing help to the immediate health needs of the community members. With hospitals being burdened by the high influx of patients, charity organizations are now being forced to organize community engagement programs with the sole objective of providing emergency health services.
These emergency medical services touch on crucial areas, such as the provision of medical aid, setting up of emergency camps, provision of water and sanitation accessories, as well as supply of personal protective equipment, including masks and face shields, to the high-risk people. Every sort of contribution to charity organizations is now being channeled to help fight the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas this rapid shift of focus is necessary for saving lives, many other individuals with different social and economic needs are at risk since they are unattended to.
Lastly, the need to enforce containment measures through minimization of movement of persons within the community is negatively impacting participation in community engagement programs. Cities that are under lockdown, for example, cannot allow social workers to move around providing much-needed assistance to those in need. Any source of assistance towards social programs is only channeled through financial contributions, which can then assist the few that have the opportunity to be on the ground and provide social help.