COVID-19 QUARANTINE UPDATE: TAKING THE GOOD WITH THE BAD

Facts and Statistics
As I type this, it is June 14, 2020. It has been 5 months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in the United States. As of May 27, 2020, the US had the most confirmed active cases and deaths in the world and its death rate was 285 per million people, the 9th highest rate globally (source). According to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there are 7,893,700 total global cases with 432,922 global deaths – 115,732 of those US deaths. According to the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio has 38,188 confirmed cases (or 41,148 total cases) with 2,327 confirmed deaths (or 2,557 total deaths).

Work Life
I can thankfully and joyfully share that both of my buildings are still COVID-19 free. While there has been administrative staff that tested positive, I am so fortunate to say that we haven’t had a single long term care resident test positive for the virus, nor have we accepted a short term patient who has been positive. From what I have been able to gather from the administration department, as long as there are other skilled nursing homes, with positive cases, with open beds, my buildings can continue to refuse to take COVID-19 patients to limit the spread of this virus, especially to our vulnerable and highly susceptible population.

This past week both my buildings were visited by a health department surveyor who examined our PPE and sanitation protocols. Up until this point, the CDC and health department’s recommendations had been changing weekly – N95 one day, face shield the next, nah you don’t need either, just wear a surgical mask, on and on and on, different week to week (of note, I was given an N95 and a face shield, only have worn them once in the past 8 weeks). The latest protocol is any new admission to the facility or resident who returns from a medical procedure (i.e. dialysis) must be quarantined in their room, preferably in an isolation unit, for 14 days, and staff is required to don gown, gloves, and surgical mask (last I heard not an N95, but again, that could change tomorrow).

My hours have been steadily rising over the past few weeks. On June 1st, I went back to my ‘normal’ schedule and started traveling between both my buildings each day, except that I requested to continue to have Wednesdays off for the time being. Because of the limitations in use of PRN staff and limited ability to pull other full time PTs to our building to cover weekends, I’m basically on call every other weekend, so I wanted to build in a day off into my schedule mid week in the event I have to cover both days of the weekend, and it has worked out so far.

Personal Life
While I am very fortunate to have retained my job, I found myself with a good chunk of extra time on my hands during the week since the start of this quarantine. With this time I was able to knock out some big goals, form healthy habits, and (hopefully) create lasting change in my life related to weight loss and hobbies. It goes without saying the privilege I have to be in a position of freedom with minimal responsibilities. I live in a one bedroom apartment with my partner, I have no children and no pets to care for, a sizable emergency fund, and solid support system. If there ever was a time to focus on myself and personal development, this is it.

This quarantine has allowed me to focus my time and energy on meal planning, meal preparation, and working out at home, which resulted in a 20 lb weight loss (read more about that here.) I also became quite the bookworm in quarantine. As of today, I’ve finished my 11th book (nearly four thousand pages) since April 5th with a new found appreciation and love for ebooks, the Toledo Public Library, and Book of the Month (which I joined in June). I’ve read more in the past 10 weeks than I had my entire senior year of AP lit. And lastly, this quarantine pushed me to do something I’ve thought about for years, starting this blog. It’s been so much fun brain storming topics to write about and drafting blog posts. I especially have liked working on my currently/monthly favorites posts and my book review posts.

Daily Life
Ohio has continued to re-open with Governor DeWine permitting the following to open effective June 10th: aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, indoor sports facilities, indoor movie theaters, museums, outdoor playgrounds, trampoline parks, zoos etc. From personal experience I can say the percentage of people wearing masks to grocery shop is quickly declining, though I still continue to wear a mask. My local gym reopened at the end of May but I opted to freeze my membership for 3 months, I figure I’ve managed to lose 20 lbs without the gym, maybe I don’t need it after all. In an unexpected turn, public health superhero and Ohio’s health director Amy Acton’s resigned on June 11th after continued backlash against Ohio’s lockdown protocols.

Reflection
While it feels like we are shifting into a ‘new normal,’ the coronavirus is still very much a threat and likely to be around this time next year. Some speculate that nursing homes won’t allow visitors until a cure for COVID-19 is found. All I know is that this has been the strangest period of my life. I am so blessed and privileged to be coming out on the other side of a global pandemic with a job, my health, and all of my loved ones unharmed.
*knocks on wood*

Until tomorrow, Meryn


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