Legacy Property Management, LLC honors all of our service professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic! Without you, our country would be lost. We praise God that you all are sacrificing yourselves daily on the front lines! One of our owners (and we know there are more so please email us), Grover Street, has been tirelessly volunteering remotely in New York while his family resides in Colorado. Here is his version of “COVID19 APOCALYPSE”
Thank you Grover for your incredible acts of service and kindness! God Bless, we shall overcome!
As an Agency/Travel Nurse, I have worked in many hospitals all over the country, all with unique situations and challenges. This experience takes the cake!
The New Year 2020 starts like any other except now with news from China surrounding a lethal novel virus spreading rapidly. With predictions of a global pandemic crisis, hospitals in the northeast are preparing for the worst and begging for help. Since I had worked in a large urban hospital in NJ intermittently for the last 8 months, I decide to return for another 4 week assignment starting on March 2, 2020.
In normal circumstances, this hospital sees 400-500 patients daily in the ED and Fast Track and is one of the busiest locations I have ever worked. The sudden dramatic change I saw within a few days is staggering and what one would see in movies. All hospitals have a disaster preparedness master pla but we rapidly see we are not prepared. The hospital environment quickly becomes a frantic mass of disorganized moments of chaos. Patients are everywhere. Triage personnel are not putting masks on coughing patients. Hospital employees are still nonchalant about protection and not wearing masks.
I triaged a 32 year old very athletic and healthy appearing male patient who did not present with any of the symptoms that the CDC reported to be consistent with COVID19. He was swabbed for the flu and after other diagnostics resulted negative, he is discharged and sent home. Afterward, I proceed with my busy day caring for approximately 60 patients in fast track. I later received a phone call from the Occupational Medicine Department asking a series of questions. 30 minutes later the Occ Med physician calls and orders me to proceed to the DECON room in the ED. I am not to leave the room until I have been evaluated by the ED doctor and cleared to go home. Evidently, the patient I originally triaged returned to the hospital very ill and was positive for COVID19. I am placed in quarantine for 14 days, unable to leave my room and certainly could not go home to quarantine in Colorado. I felt helpless and trapped as if I were in jail.
I needed to figure out a way to help even though I was in quarantine. I decided to start a group chat with the nurses I work with to offer support and to keep informed on the hospital environment. Multiple times daily, nurses express frustration and fatigue. However, everyone continues to push on to exhaustion on a daily basis. Crises brings out the true character of people. Health care workers usually are selfless and will do what has to be done for the sick. I know I had to continue helping in any way possible, even from my quarantined room. Getting and passing on information is something I can do and is a good way to help.
My wife is a physician in charge of a group of providers serving many hospitals rurally. As part of her job, she spends hours each day keeping up with the ever-evolving CDC recommendations. The information she sends to me is passed on to our doctors and nurses. Basically, we as health care workers need to be protected. Who will care for patients if we all get sick? Staff members start wearing the recommended PPE (personal protective equipment) throughout their shift and not just when coming in close contact with a possible COVID-19 patient. The hospital is still scrambling but now everyone seems on the same page, with the same level of heightened awareness and caution.
Finally, my quarantine is over. I am asymptomatic and able to return to work. Things have changed drastically in a short amount of time. To help reduce the flow of non-critical patients inside the hospital, a triage tent is constructed in the parking lot. Patients are initially seen outside and either determined to be sick enough to go into the ED or to get tested and go home. There still is not enough staff to support to flow of patients. Everyone was working above and beyond their highest capacity. Every minute we are triaging our tasks and what needs to be done first in that very moment.
One morning early in my shift, I transfer a few patients upstairs to the ICU. It is a sight I have never seen before. Every nurse and doctor is wearing what looks like HAZMAT suits similar to what I saw when I served in USAF trauma core. The impending doom in the air is so thick it is palpable. Beds are inverted, intubated patients turned prone as a last ditch effort to improve their oxygenation and save their lives. I have been a nurse for 21 years and have never seen anything like this before. Initially, it was the elderly or those with multiple medical co-morbidities that were deteriorating with this illness. We are seeing younger patients between the ages of 20-50 intubated in the ICU.
The CDC still does not have much information about this virus but daily we are seeing an escalation in positive cases locally and around the world. Our hospital is nearing capacity. Our ICU is full of vented patients and now we have run out of ventilators. In an attempt to increase the capacity of the hospital, four entire floors are dedicated to the care of COVID-19 patients. Other areas are converted to patient care centers. We all are wearing surgical masks and surgical caps to cover hair at all times during our shifts. In addition, we place an N95 mask, gown, gloves and face shield to care for COVID positive patients. N95 masks are in very limited supply but now CDC has guidelines to safely extend and reuse this necessary piece of equipment.
I am back in Colorado helping to care for my wife who is being treated for breast cancer. As the nation practices social distancing and non-essential businesses are closed, we hope the crisis on the west coast and in the northeast can be localized, limiting the number of Americans exposed and dying from this illness.
There are several positive developments I have seen in the last month:
• We now have a Rapid COVID-19 test available. This is very important to be able to quickly identify and isolate those patients that are positive.
• There are medications in Phase 3 trials being used for those that are critically ill
• The CDC is working tirelessly to keep us all informed with guidelines to help us navigate this crisis as best we can. We are keeping up to date on all the latest recommendations for everyone’s protection.
• We are running low on our supply of PPE around the country but we are learning how to ration and extend the use of masks safely.
• Restricting all visitors in clinics and hospitals is a good way to reduce exposures.
• I am seeing health care workers rise to the challenge and work above and beyond their usual capabilities.
• Patients are showing gratitude and are appreciative of all the treatment and advice we are able to give
• Restaurants are providing meals to health care workers to show appreciation for all that is being done.
• Grocery stores are practicing social distancing by marking 6 feet distance in the check out areas
Our generation has never seen a global disaster such as this. We are “building the plane as we fly it.”
Let us all keep positive thoughts and actions in our daily lives in an attempt to support each other. Together we will prevail.