WACO, Texas – Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Texas communities to shut down, healthcare professionals have had to take extra measures to make sure both they and their patients stay as safe as possible.
Workers at the Premier ER in Waco like Dr. Jill Beatty have needed to layer up even more than usual in extra weeks. In addition to gloves, they have added goggles, masks, gowns, hats and shoe covers to their work wardrobe.
“The paramedics have protocols in place for infectious disease at all times,” says Beatty. “Now with COVID, they’re all wearing masks, gloves and any suspected COVID patient gets a higher degree of personal protective equipment.”
While these workers have to be extra cautious every day at work, they also need to be wary not to bring any potential exposure home with them.
“Most of the people I work with, the providers here, are changing clothes in the garage, showering, leaving shoes and all equipment away from the family,” says Beatty. “It’s tough. You want to know you’re doing the right thing, and you don’t want to put your family at risk. But your family needs you.”
For the folks at Premier ER, it isn’t even the virus itself that is the most worrying part of the pandemic, but rather the uncertainty.
“As humans, we like to know what’s going on and we like to have a plan. And I think with a novel coronavirus, there’s just some degree of uncertainty that we have a hard time grasping,” says Beatty. “As a provider and a mother and a wife, the concern of taking it home to your loved ones is, for all healthcare providers, really on the top of our minds.”
The spread of COVID-19 has shut down Waco and communities all over the nation for weeks now. Not even the people working on fighting it every day know when the pandemic will die out.
“It’s not just one event. And then we’re having to deal with it. This is an ongoing event. And it’s kind of like a moving target,” says Beatty. “You’re not kinda sure from day to day how much you need or what you need to do to be prepared.”
The Premier ER says that their volume of patients has gone down during the shelter-in-place and says that it can be attributed to people in McLennan County practicing good social distancing.