By: Eresay Alcantar-Velasquez and Megan Vargas
There have always been fears in the world, but with positive cases continuing to rise, unemployment, quarantine, and irrational fear have clouded thousands of lives.
The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, first originated in Wuhan, China. From there the virus has continued to spread from country to country earning the title of a pandemic. The United States is considered to have one of the worst cases in the world with the most positive cases centered in New York.
Many businesses have been shut down leading to excessive unemployment rates. Businesses that are not considered essential have turned to working from home to avoid close human contact.
However, there are still those who continue to work and put their lives on the line: the medical professionals. At the state and local level, Kansas is approaching the virus with great caution. Garden City High School alumni, Carly Trentman, 27, is an Internal Medicine Resident Physician at Saint Lukes Hospital and Truman Medical Center in Kansas City. Trentman shared her experience with COVID-19 and how it has affected her life.
“The policies for PPE (personal protective equipment) at both hospitals were dynamic and sometimes would vary from day to day,” Trentman said. “The best word I could summarize my experience would probably “ever-changing”.”
There have been multiple changes at the state level concerning hospitals and medical centers. These adjustments were all made for the benefits of the workers, patients, and the general public.
“There are no longer medical students at the hospital.” Trentman said. “All our meetings and conferences are done virtually. We are to work even if we have been exposed to a covid-19 positive patient, unless we develop symptoms. Three of the ICUs at St. Lukes Hospital have been converted to COVID rule out unit.”
Although, some do not heed warnings, social distancing truly does have an effect. What people do today, will inevitably have a direct effect on how long quarantine withstands. It is recommended that individuals only leave their home if absolutely necessary. Anytime someone leaves their house, the chance of contacting and spreading COVID-19 increases. While younger individuals are not high risk for developing severe cases, older individuals and those with preexisting or underlying health problems have a higher risk.
“Family members are having to say goodbye to their loved ones via FaceTime, a phone call, or sometimes it is too late, and the phone call is that the patient has already passed away.” Trentman said. “It is hard for me to understand how any short-term vacation, outing, or rebellious practice would be worth this risk. Stay home, stay healthy, and we will be able to go back to our normal lives much sooner.”
Additionally, With 605,390 positive Covid-19 cases in the United States alone as of Apr. 15., this worldwide pandemic has hit a little harder than anyone initially thought it would. Out of those 605,390 cases the death toll as of Apr. 15. reached 24,582 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 18 of those positive cases come from Finney County, KS resulting in one death. As of Mar. 30. the Governor of Kansas Laura Kelly placed a statewide stay home order meaning do not leave your residence unless absolutely necessary. When leaving home, it is important to practice social distancing while in public. Social distancing consists of staying a distance of 6ft away from other people, practicing proper hand hygiene by washing for at least 20 seconds, sneezing or coughing into your elbow, and wiping down frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant. It is imperative at this time to follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading and contracting the disease. Dora Leon, Director of St. Catherine Hospital Emergency Room, stresses the importance of staying home unless emergent care is needed. Leon advises anyone who is concerned they are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 to contact the Covid Hotline before coming to the hospital. The Covid Hotline can be reached at (620) 272-3600. These times of uncertainty may seem like there is no end in sight but by following the government listed guidelines and practicing proper hygiene techniques there is still hope for a brighter, healthier future.