The Hidden Health Workers: It’s Not Just Those In ERs Who Are Struggling To Cope With Pandemic
People like those who work suicide hotlines and other crisis call centers are trying to keep their heads above the water as the pandemic sweeps the country. In other news on essential workers: staff cuts, personal protective gear, hazard pay and more.
Crisis Counselors Wage Wrenching Battle On Coronavirus Front Lines
The most iconic images of the coronavirus pandemic are, by now, familiar: the exhausted doctors peering from behind a 3D-printed face protector; the nurses covered in garbage bags; the brave first responders who arrive, sirens blaring, to help yet another person who is gasping for air. But there is a much less visible group of professionals, people like Lauren Ochs, who are on the frontlines of a mental health crisis every bit as wrenching as medical battles waged every day in hospitals. (Glaser, 5/4)
The New York Times:
3 Hospital Workers Gave Out Masks. Weeks Later, They All Were Dead.
They did not treat patients, but Wayne Edwards, Derik Braswell and Priscilla Carrow held some of the most vital jobs at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. As the coronavirus tore through the surrounding neighborhood, their department managed the masks, gloves and other protective gear inside Elmhurst, a public hospital at the center of the city’s outbreak. They ordered the inventory, replenished the stockroom and handed out supplies, keeping a close count as the number of available masks began to dwindle. By April 12, they were all dead. (Hong, 5/4)
Nurses At Tenet Health Hospital Claim Staff Cuts Leading To Unsafe Care
Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., claim the decision by parent company Tenet Healthcare Corp. to reduce staff amid the coronavirus pandemic is leading to subpar care. Tenet announced in early April that it would furlough staff due to lower patient volumes as a result of the cancellation of elective procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The furloughs wouldn't have an "impact on COVID-care or care provided to patients with other urgent medical needs," a St. Vincent spokesperson said, but the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents the hospital's 840 nurses, claims that hasn't been the case. (Castelluci, 4/30)
Coronavirus Poses A Tough Question: Did NYC Essential Workers Die In The Line Of Duty?
The illness infected both parents in its stampede through New York City last month, killing the 43-year-old NYPD detective and turning a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom into a shell-shocked widow. Her husband, like all coronavirus victims, has not been granted "line of duty" status that would provide health insurance to his family. So instead of planning trips to Disney World, Abear is now figuring out how to pay for her daughter’s next vaccine. “My husband had 19 years on the job, so he was going to retire next year and every day he would talk about his retirement,” she said in a recent interview. “He was so looking forward to spending time with his family, especially his kids. Now it’s just going to be so different.” (Goldenberg, 5/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Call It Hero Pay Or Hazard Pay, Essential Workers Want More Of It
As businesses across two dozen states start to reopen after coronavirus shutdowns, some companies are reassessing the bonus pay for hourly employees who have been going into work through the pandemic. Companies boosted wages for grocery workers and other employees in recent months to recognize their efforts and ensure attendance when millions of Americans were asked to stay home. Some employees have welcomed the money, while others say it isn’t enough to mitigate the risks they face on the job as the coronavirus spreads in the U.S. (Chen and Sayre, 5/4)
The Associated Press:
Donor Gives Employees At Hospital $1 Million For Bonuses
Around the country, there’s a lot of gratitude for medical providers these days, and in Santa Cruz, California, a recent anonymous note to the local hospital was no exception. “Thank you for standing up (and staying up!) to care for our community,” it said. “This humankindness is what makes you heroic.” It was the donation that came with that note — $1 million — that has hospital employees cheering. The gift was designated entirely for employees — nurses, cleaning staff, lab techs, medical records, even mailroom staff and security guards who have worked at Dominican Hospital for at least a year are getting a bonus check. Full-time staff get $800, part-timers receive $600. (Mendoza, 5/4)
'Similar to Times of War': The Staggering Toll of COVID-19 on Filipino Health Care Workers
When Alfredo Pabatao told his family that he had helped move a suspected coronavirus patient through the hospital where he’d worked as an orderly for nearly 20 years, he didn’t make a big deal out of it. “My parents are the type of parents who don’t like to make us worry,” his youngest daughter, Sheryl, recalled. But Sheryl was concerned that her father’s vulnerabilities weren’t being given more consideration as he toiled on the pandemic’s front lines in hard-hit northern New Jersey. “Why would they let a 68-year-old man with an underlying heart condition … transport a suspected COVID patient when there’s younger transporters in the hospital who could do it?” (Martin and Yeung, 5/3)
More Than 370 Workers At A Pork Plant Tested Positive For Coronavirus But Were Asymptomatic
373 employees and contract workers at Triumph Foods in Buchanan County, Missouri, have tested positive for coronavirus. All of them were asymptomatic, according to a press release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services... It is just one of dozens of meat packing plants and food processing facilities across the country that have seen outbreaks of the virus, forcing shutdowns and sparking concerns of possible food shortages. (Silverman, 5/4)