COVID-19 impacts lives on individual, personal level

Medical+assistant+Leticia+Feliz+administers+a+test+for+COVID-19+outside+of+Innovative+Express+Care+on+Chicago%27s+North+Side+on+March+24%2C+2020.

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

Medical assistant Leticia Feliz administers a test for COVID-19 outside of Innovative Express Care on Chicago’s North Side on March 24, 2020.

By Bella Keys, Staff Writer

This global pandemic is something I never imagined would happen in my lifetime, and it feels like my life has been turned upside down. Classes are now online, stores are closed and we are currently self-quarantined.

I remember when the news of COVID-19 first came out, and I thought it was just a funny joke — I never thought it would impact my life. But now it feels like things have gotten crazy. When we order food for delivery, the delivery man drops it off at the door and leaves to minimize contact. If you order something from a store, the person delivering must put on personal protective equipment and leave the item outside the door to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

My father is a doctor and is working in a hospital during this time, which has resulted in many major changes to his typical workplace procedures. To start, he can no longer just simply wear scrubs. He now has to wear an N-95 mask — a viral filtration paper mask — goggles, gloves and a disposable plastic gown whenever he sees a patient. He also uses a disposable stethoscope and has to wash his hands, remove his gown and take off his gloves every time he leaves the room.

When he comes home, he has to put all his work clothes into a laundry basket in the garage and use hand sanitizer on his hands before he can come inside. After that, my mom sanitizes his work clothes by wearing gloves and putting them in a sanitary wash. Afterward, the washing machine has to be sanitized before other clothes are allowed to be washed. 

The hospital has seen some changes in patient activity as well. For starters, no one comes to the emergency room unless they think they might have the virus. All other people seem to stay away for fear of catching the illness; those who are infected with the virus often end up in the ICU on ventilators for a few days. These people transferred to the ICU are under 80 years old, and there have been deaths at the hospital of people ages 30-50 years old. It is increasingly important for all people, especially those over 50, to stay indoors as a safety precaution.

Some precautions we are taking at home to stay healthy include not sharing anything. If someone takes a sip out of someone else’s drink, we throw the entire drink away to avoid sharing germs. We are also using soap before and after we do anything, and we are trying not to leave the house. In fact, we have been following quarantine guidelines closely and are communicating with our friends and extended family by telephone.

It is very important for everyone to stay home. If any of us leave, we risk getting infected and transferring the virus to others in our households. Keeping yourself as germ-free as possible will help you stay healthy. I hope you all stay safe during this trying time.

Bella is a junior in LAS.

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