Essential healthcare worker shares her COVID-19 exposure experience

Sofia May Rivero, Reporter

As the number of deaths and infections raise in Iowa due to COVID-19, many people are still putting their lives on the line. These people are everywhere, whether they are fast food workers, plant workers, nurses, EMTs or CNAs, or others. They’re right here in your neighborhoods.

I guarantee you know one, but have you took the time to give them a call and ask how they’re doing? How they feel about this pandemic? Or if they need anything?

I took the time to ask an essential heath care worker her perspective and thoughts on everything going on. The worker would prefer to be anonymous, but answered all of my questions.

This worker has already been exposed to this Coronavirus strain three times all in the span of two weeks by clients and a co-worker. I asked how her thoughts on the situation as a whole has changed from when the numbers were zero in Iowa to now where they hit 13,289 cases as of May 13.

“I wasn’t scared, I felt like since I was doing in-home care it was safer than when I used to work in nursing homes. We also were following all PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) guidelines and wearing masks at all times. I just never thought I’d get exposed,” she said.

The next step was going to get tested because she was exposed. I asked how the experience was getting tested.

“It was scary and wasn’t pleasant at all,” she said. “The nurse even made the comment that everyone who came in had high BPMs (heartbeats per minute).”

She then went on to say she was still glad she got tested, and felt it would ease her mind. With the nurse mentioning a common BPM also helped her anxiety because being nervous definitely is a normal response, they said.

She’s currently waiting for results and feeling very unappreciated by her company because while waiting for the results she much use PTO, or vacation time. Her manager even went as far as saying “you’ve already been exposed, so you might as well work.”

Although the circumstances with this worker is not letting it bring her down, she feels with everything going on others need to show a little extra love to each other while still being safe. She thinks doing simple things, such as calling and checking in on them, dropping off necessities or every small gestures would make them feel more appreciated and needed during this time.