The rising cases of coronavirus are taking its toll on local healthcare workers.
Some on the frontlines are limiting time spent in person with loved-ones to prevent the spread to family members. Amanda Peters, a traveling nurse who resides in Rock Island, said she has barely seen her family since February.
“In the beginning, I actually had no physical or in-person contact with my family for the first couple of months that I was gone which was devastating to put it very mildly.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, she treated only COVID-19 positive patients until June. She now works at an assisted living facility in Freeport, IL, so keeping at-risk residents safe is crucial. But, she said being away from family and others is taking its toll.
“Being basically isolated myself is incredibly difficult.”
While she’s been helping others, she calls a hotel room home and limits visits with family. They rely on video calls to stay connected. Unfortunately, multiple family members have caught COVID-19 while she’s been away.
“We’ve tried so hard to keep our family safe, and even with the precautions that we take, it’s still possible to happen,” she said. Her family practices social distancing, wear masks, and rarely goes out in public she said.
Her niece and nephew both have COVID-19, and so does her grandfather, who’s currently in the ICU due to complications from the virus. Her boyfriend, who has stage 4 cancer, is also infected.
“And it’s hard to be away from them and know that there’s nothing I could do even if I was there,” she said. “Almost everyone but me has COVID-19, which we didn’t think would be the case.”
She sees the impact of the virus first-hand, and she wants people to take it seriously. She said the patients she has treated sometimes blame themselves for contracting the virus.
“That’s hard to see,” she said. “We don’t always know, even with contact tracing, how people have been infected.”
All that people can control is doing their part to stop the spread she said, which will help hospitals stay beneath max capacity.
“It’s absolutely critical that we don’t reach that point and that’s why we all have to do our part to make sure that it doesn’t happen,” she said.