Irene Maun Sigrah is a prominent member of the Marshallese community in Dubuque and community health care worker at the Pacific Islander Health Project at Crescent Community Health Center. For weeks, she sheltered at home with COVID-19. Her husband and two sons also became infected. The family is now recovered, but since the pandemic began, three members of their community have died.
“There are more in the hospitals. The ICUs are full of us," Sigrah says.
Several generations of a Marshallese family may live together for cultural and financial reasons. “Under one roof, there’s a lot of people,” she says. “It’s hard to change that. And when you have grandmother, son, grandchild all living there, with one kitchen, maybe one bathroom, how do you quarantine? It’s hard.”
Despite being ill with the virus herself, Sigrah has spent much of her own quarantine fielding phone calls from her neighbors and family, directing them to resources or calling herself, as a translator for those who do not speak English.
Stories like Sigrah's inspired the launch of the Dubuque Marshallese Health Fund to provide health services for this community. You can help by making a gift today.