Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

Wheelchair bound, lacking insulin, Lithonia family struggles in quarantine in Panama with COVID

Wheelchair bound, lacking insulin, Lithonia family struggles in quarantine in Panama with COVID

The two women tested positive before boarding their flight and are now forced to quarantine in a hotel.

Two family members from Lithonia say they are stranded in Central America after testing positive for COVID-19 right before their flight home.

Daniella Bullock and Donna Davis-Nunes are now in quarantine in the Golden Tower Hotel in Panama City, Panama, per the country's coronavirus policies. Both said the quarters are not handicap accessible, which will make the next two weeks for Davis-Nunes even more complicated.

Panamanian coronavirus policies say unvaccinated passengers on inbound, outbound, or transit flights who test positive for COVID-19 at the airport may be required to quarantine at a MINSA-designated hotel or hospital for 14 days. The U.S. Embassy cannot insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period, according to the government's website.

However, posted policies do not address quarantine accommodations.

"My aunt is 100% disabled," Bullock said. "Her home was specifically to meet her needs in terms of having access to a shower, a decent-sized toiler, her walker, things like that. And they told us that the facility that we would quarantine in had doctors and they would be able to support us."

Bullock said the support has yet to be seen.

"When we arrived there, we had to ask for water. We had to ask for a towel to take a bath. We had to ask for additional bedsheets," she said after her first day in quarantine.

Apart from lacking some necessities, the women said the largest inconvenience is that the room isn't fit for someone who utilizes a wheelchair.

Davis-Nunez struggles to navigate in her wheelchair. The women noted a step to get into the shower and no railing for balance. Davis-Nunes is even using her wheelchair as a makeshift walker to get around.

"I feel this loss, torn, distressed, disgruntled, unhappy, and I don't think they listen to us, they don't pay attention to us," she said. "Obviously, I'm in a wheelchair and not for joy. It's a need."

The women have only been given a few days' worths of food and water to survive a two-week period, which is adding to quarantine frustration, they said. They're concerned about running out of supplies before they can get home.

On top of navigating coronavirus care in another country, Bullock is a Type 1 diabetic and said she is rationing her insulin pen and reusing needles to get her 4 shots a day for the next two weeks.

However, they're glad that they have each other and have sticky notes on the wall to count down to the days when they can finally come home to DeKalb County.

The two will be allowed to leave Jan. 10.

11Alive reached out to the Ministry of Health in Panama, the closest Panamanian consulate in Tampa and the U.S. Embassy in Panama. However, no one has been able to respond to phone calls or emails.


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