Some Heroes Wear Scrubs

The+main+sign+on+the+curb+welcoming+people+for+COVID+screening

The main sign on the curb welcoming people for COVID screening

Jillian Johnson, Journalist

     Businesses and jobs everywhere are being continuously affected by the virus, but the ones who seem to have been hit the hardest are the ones who need to be heard. Over 301,000 people have died from COVID across the country and the hospitalization rates are only rising with about 278.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 population becoming the current number according to The New York Times and CDC. The world is in the middle of a global pandemic and time is crucial. So be ready to listen, put away any apples, and invite a visit from the doctor because now more than ever, it’s time to be serious about health.

      Lisa Humphrey, Director of Nursing and Quality for Providence Medical Group, agrees that everyone is truly in the unknown with this virus. “There is so much we just don’t know,” she says, “what we think we know today is likely to be different in the next week.” Humphrey also expressed one of her major concerns with the current healthcare system in place stating that “even before COVID healthcare was kinda limping along, on the verge of breaking.” Though, even with all the gloom, she still harbors hope for the new vaccine coming out, although she was initially skeptical of it from her 10 years as a clinical research nurse. She shares that it feels like “we’ve been playing defense for the last 9 months.  It’s going to feel good to go out there and start playing offense.” 

     The said vaccine has sparked a lot of questions among the medical community itself with it’s fast response time and opinions on it continue to remain scattered among the people. Unlike Humphrey, Tamara Snell, Registered Nurse and Certified Case Manager, takes a different approach regarding the vaccine. “The ‘science’ that is being pushed since COVID 19 was first brought to light has been inconsistent, unreliable, and poorly done.” She worries of the adverse reactions it may cause to people because of just how speedy it was made and provided to the public. But even before the vaccine was announced, the problems that sparked from COVID still scared Snell . “In essence people neglected their very real health needs out of fear of the potential of COVID,” She says, “we cannot ‘catch up’ on the damage that was done.” Snell is grateful for the level-headed providers she works with but is still plenty concerned about the future. 

     With COVID being the current breaking news title of almost every single newspaper out there, Kalia O’Dell, Registered Nurse, is extremely concerned that they have shifted their entire focus onto COVID alone. “You see this everywhere but, we are not treating other things such as mental health, chronic health conditions, abuse, etc.” O’Dell remarks that she has done enough research and experienced COVID first hand to know that while this virus itself does need to be one of the top priorities for people, they must also recognize the other issues that seemed to have been put on the back burner. The number of calls she gets about non-COVID related issues have only since been elevated and there is simply no coverage on it. It is the iceberg effect, if we only focus on the top and do not see what is happening below then we will never survive.” 

     Thurston County itself has been doing better lately on following the strict rules in place, such as washing hands and social distancing, and in return the infected rates were staying low before a steady increase occurred once again. Both Humprey and O’Dell agree that while what we have been doing is good, there is still work that needs to be done such  as encouraging others to be nicer towards each other during this time and even trying to see the problems that are not COVID related. If the general public is able to keep up the good work then it may lift some of the weight of  the healthcare workers and the system as a whole.

     Society has been torn multiple different ways during this pandemic, with the politically charged atmosphere on one end and social issues that badly need to be addressed on the other, making it hard  to figure out what to focus on and where.