How long have you been a nurse/doctor?
I'm actually a cardiac echo technician who performs ultrasounds on people's hearts. I have been doing this job for more than 20 years.
What department do you work in?
I work in cardiology; I am an echo technician so I work in the back with all the doctors in the office.
What is your office's procedure with regard to COVID-19 patient care?
In the office, we have to make sure we fog the room with disinfectant, then we must wipe everything down in between patients. We have patients call when they arrive at the office, and then a medical assistant will go out to the patient's car, take their temperature, then provide them with another mask to go on top of their own, and then they will be allowed to enter the office.
What is the protocol if you (or a co-worker) show signs of infection?
Whoever has been in contact with that patient in the office must get tested and stay home until results have been disclosed. The office must go under deep cleaning until further notice. Once the office reopens everyone must get their temperature taken like any other day and that is the basic protocol.
Were you ever without enough PPE?
Never, we are always stocked with equipment and there are always overstocks because the office has not allowed the usual amount of patients in every day, so the number of supplies we have is over the number of supplies we will need in a specific time span.
What is the biggest change your day-to-day has faced because of COVID-19?
For a while at the beginning of the pandemic, I had to stay home and work from my computer. Instead of doing my usual work, I was doing assistant work and that is something I was not used to. I was being paid less than usual and then once things began to ease up we had to go through Covid-19 training. There was a lot of change made because of the pandemic.
Describe your office's atmosphere.
The office is very calm for the most part, many of our patients are seniors. Aside from the patient atmosphere, we always have a great time in the office with each other. We are never bombarded with work or patients, so that leaves a great time to really spend with my coworkers.
How do you feel about the national news coverage of COVID-19? Accurate? Downplaying the situation?
It really depends on where you get your information from. Some news stations explain the issue to the fullest extent, meaning they really make the situation just as important as it needs to be. In other news stations, the situation is downplayed and I think that is very irresponsible considering people are in fact dying from this illness. Overall, I think the coverage is pretty accurate and I do my best to obey all of the laws and suggestions that the health officials lay out for us.
How do you feel about your state's re-opening strategy? Do you think it's safe?
I do not completely agree with how fast everything is opening up. I mean, other countries are going back into lockdown and they have fewer cases than we do. I just really hope people can simply follow the directions because the faster we take away the interaction with others and keep each other safe, the faster the pandemic will come to an end.
What is the biggest mistake you see people making in regard to COVID-19?
Arguing with the simple protocol to wear a mask. People have done it for years and it's a simple task. It is not compromising anyone's health. My daughter (meaning me) has asthma and she has no problem wearing a mask. She has an autoimmune compromising health issue and she can still wear a mask for hours on end with no complaint. If my daughter with asthma can do it, so can others.
What advice can you give us for staying as healthy as possible?
Make sure you wash your hands every chance that you can. Simple hygiene routines can help in more ways than you know possible. Also, keeping a distance between yourself and others that you do not interact with on a daily and making sure to always be cautious when coming in contact with someone who seems to be ill. Always remember to check your temperature and take your daily vitamins.
How is your personal life impacted by COVID-19?
I am not able to see my distant family as much. Many family traditions have been put on hold and not being able to see all of our friends has been really difficult. It is really upsetting right now at the moment, but once this is over or at least has come to a halt, we will appreciate all the moments we missed even more than we ever have before.
What can citizens in your area do to help healthcare workers fight COVID-19?
Citizens everywhere could listen to the health officials and the advice they give. Listen to the laws put in place and the suggestions they give. The more people that follow those rules, the fewer people that will wind up in the hospital, and that truly is the end goal.