By Nyjah Chaney
While some individuals are self-quarantined in their homes to avoid the spread of COVID-19, others must still go to work every morning. The term for people working during the pandemic is “essential workers.”
According to Newsweek.com, a few essential workers can be identified as “private and public healthcare workers, law enforcement, public safety officers and first responders, food and agriculture workers, transportation and logistic workers, the news, community and government workers, financial services, those that handle hazardous materials, and shelters.”
Essential workers are likely in high-traffic, public spaces where they stand the risk of contracting the disease. Although some have altered their work schedules in order to clean and properly disinfect stores for everyone’s safety, this cannot guarantee that the germs have been removed. The stores are still open, they just close earlier in the evenings to properly clean, disinfect, and stock the shelves.
However, healthcare workers must still report to hospitals and doctors’ offices. These workers have a greater possibility of coming in contact with the virus, due to the possibility of treating infected people.
Nurse practitioner Courtney Wilson is an essential worker currently employed at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Working in healthcare, Wilson noted that the disease has impacted her daily job. “There is a 90 percent decrease in physical office visits. Patients have been seen via video visits or phone calls,” she said.
Attempting to find a safe way to operate, Johns Hopkins began screening calls for symptoms and encouraging employees to practice social distancing. According to Wilson, all staff members have been given N95 masks or respirator masks like “painters would wear,” she said.
Outside of work, Wilson says COVID-19 has inspired her and her family to make better decisions health-wise. “I wash my hands more frequently and wipe down my work-space with antibacterial wipes several times a day,” she said. Her family also stays inside and cleans common areas more often than they usually do.
In order to stay healthy, Wilson suggests individuals “wash your hands several times a day. Wearing a surgical mask doesn’t really help. They are meant to keep others safe when you get sick. The masks do not prevent this virus from penetrating through them,” she said.
Photo Courtesy of hopkinsmedicine.org