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Coronavirus: Family of little Kaidence Tate (5) in no hurry to stop shielding

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Kaidence Tate at home

Kaidence Tate at home

Kaidence Tate at home

The family of a young Newtownabbey girl who has been shielding for months have said they are in no rush to change their routine.

Kaidence Tate (5) has had to take lockdown extremely seriously, leaving her family home only for hospital appointments since the start of lockdown four months ago.

She was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, a condition which causes pressure in the skull and has required her to have seven brain surgeries in six months.

Although shielding has now been paused for 90,000 of the most vulnerable in Northern Ireland, Kaidence's mother Paula (31) said they would be taking things one day at a time.

"We're always going to need caution when we go out until there's a vaccine. If my daughter got Covid-19 it wouldn't just make her sick, it would be really dire for her," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Even in years to come I think we'll still need to be careful and will just have to accept the new normal."

She said the main positive change has been allowing health workers into the home for Kaidence and her younger brother Shaye (2), who has autism.

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Kaidence Tate at home

Kaidence Tate at home

Kaidence Tate at home

"This has been the first week we've actually been able to have health workers come into the house, even if they are dressed in full PPE," she said.

"As much as it is scary to let people into your home, because Covid-19 really did cause a lot of anxiety for families like ours, it is nice to know we're getting some normality back."

The family have kept a strict adherence to lockdown, with only Paula or her husband Barrie (39) leaving one at a time for shopping or hospital trips.

"I think we've gotten used to it, and there is a fear for us of going back to how things were.

"That's especially true coming up to the winter months when we'll probably need to shield a lot more.

"We would like to take a trip away somewhere but we'll just take it week by week but we know that in our home and garden we're in a safe place so we're still happy enough."

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Kaidence with her dad Barrie

Kaidence with her dad Barrie

Kaidence with her dad Barrie

She said recent months had also been an anxious time for other parents in Kaidence's school.

"A lot of the children have very complex needs so I would say there's been a lot of sleepless nights, when all you want to do as a parent is keep them safe.

"We have no way of trying to help that, so a lot of people in our world are very worried and I would say they wouldn't be skipping out the door today."

Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride urged those who had been shielding to remain vigilant.

He also called on the public to reassure the most vulnerable.

"As a rule of thumb, assume the person you are passing in the street or who is standing next to you in a queue has been shielding for months," he said.

"Put yourself in their shoes. They may well be very anxious about resuming everyday activities. Please be considerate and give them the space and time they need.

"We should all be 'sticking to the script' when it comes to social distancing, respiratory hygiene and hand washing. Wearing a face covering in shops and other enclosed spaces is a really important way we can keep each other safe. We spread the virus - so watch your distance, wash your hands, wear a face covering - please don't share or spread it."

Belfast Telegraph