COVID-19 from an essential worker’s perspective

Student with face mask
A student studying in the Atrium of Cedar Hall follows Kirkwood’s guidelines by wearing a face mask while on campus on Nov. 12, 2020. Photo by Jessica McWilliams.

Since March, the entire world has dealt with this pandemic. For a moment it seemed like time stood still. Fast forward to today and it seems that the rest of the world has reduced their numbers, while the US has spiked and death tolls are rising.  

The response to this pandemic as an essential worker has been frustrating to see. There is one thing that any hospital worker will tell you and it is this…NO ONE wants to wear a mask 24/7. Yet it is absolutley necessary to reduce spread and increase safety of everyone we come into contact with.  

In the beginning of COVID-19, protocols were changing everyday. We had meetings with various upper administration, constant reminders of proper hand washing techniques, wearing your mask over your nose, social distancing, etc.  

The many entry points to the hospital were reduced to two and we have daily screenings that consist of questions and temperature taking before entering the building. If anyone has a temperature, they are not permitted and directed to employee health to get tested immediately. The hospital had two floors designated for COVID only.  

When the numbers had gone down, we reduced it to one floor but now with the rising numbers we might have to open up the other floor. In the last two weeks alone, we went from 6 patients on a Monday, to 32 patients this past Friday, and as of Monday the 9th we have 45 COVID patients in the hospital. 

The influx of COVID cases comes at a time when the hospital is already busy treating surgery patients and the annual flu season. All of this has happened while the entire hospital, in almost every department, is severely short-staffed and over-worked with no real relief in sight.  

STOP: Health and temp check
Health and temperature checks are frequently seen at schools and hospitals to screen those who might have COVID-19. Photo taken Nov. 12, 2020, by Jessica McWilliams.

For anyone who does not believe that this virus is real, I can tell you that several of my coworkers have had deaths in their own families due to this disease.  

If we ever want to get back to “normal” we have to be safe, smart, and patient, which we are more than capable of doing.  

Please don’t be fooled by those that make falsehoods. COVID-19 is real and does not discriminate. Try to be the solution, not the problem. So mask up, wash your hands, social distance, and remember that we are all in this together. 

Image courtesy of Jessica McWilliams

Categories: COVID-19, Editorials, Opinion