Covid-19 Follow Up, Part 3

July 22, 2020

Today, I realize that 2 months passed since I wrote Big Bad Covid-19. Shortly after, the Governor issued an order for facilities of our kind to be tested for the virus. Interestingly enough, it took quite a while for the order to take effect. We waited for weeks. Most of us wanted to be tested. We were doing fine, but we wanted to know.

Oddly, the first facility wide testing was not mandatory. Some employees, as well as some residents, refused the test. Out of all tested, 1 employee and 6 residents were found to be Covid-19 positive. More may have been positive and asymptomatic, we will never know. When the employee was told to quarantine and not come back until 14 days from the test day passed, she thought it was a joke. She was feeling totally fine. The real joke was that she only had to quarantine for 3 days. It took that long to get the results.

For the residents, we tried to quarantine them as best as we could. But how do you quarantine dementia patients? Closing their bedroom doors and losing the keys was not an option. Chaining them to their beds is not only illegal, it is immoral. These residents were up and about and did not understand the concept of isolating. If they wanted to move around, we could not restrain them. If they were refusing to wear a mask, nothing could be done about it.  

All of these Covid-19 victims did fine. Only one resident refused to eat. Nothing tasted right to her, and she lost weight and energy. She is now slowly regaining both.

A month after the first test, we finally had mandatory, both residents and employees, testing. Employees that were not working that day had to come to the facility to have that long Q-Tip up their noses. A week later, all tests came back negative.

Today… are we still all free of Covid-19? Maybe. Maybe not.

The Governor wants our facility to be tested every week. Fine, but there may be a tiny problem. Who is paying for the testing? The first test was taken care of by the state. The second test is supposed to be covered by our individual insurances, or the company if there is no insurance to be charged. Will our group insurance pay for weekly testing? The company refuses to bear this extra expense. The employees simply cannot afford it, most of them being paid minimum wage.

But I question, what is the point of weekly testing? We were supposedly all negative 3 weeks ago. Some of us may have been infected at some point right after having been tested.

Maybe it does not matter one bit if we get tested at all. Before mandatory testing, we did not know if we were Covid-19 positive or negative. What we knew was that some people developed a fever and were tested. Some were positive. Some were negative. Out of these positives, a very few died, a few were on bed rest, and others were socializing as usual. Out of 17 positive residents, 3 passed away, 2 of them having been in hospice care for months. No employee died, and symptoms were from nonexistent to feeling extremely weak and tired.

In my world, as time passes, Covid-19, that monster that was killing all it touched if I am to believe the media, lost all power to scare me. I am as afraid of Covid-19 as I am of catching any kind of flu virus. I would certainly not be happy about it. But I don’t dwell on it.

I am grateful to have been part of the “essential” people that still had to get up every morning, go to work, and socialize. I feel sad for my friends that stopped all interactions with the outside world. I hear them telling me that they do not know when they will be ready to go out again. Their fear is so profound, they are now taking antidepressants for some, drinking too much for others.

I too felt that fear. In March. Then, I started watching around me. I was expecting a third of my neighborhood to pass away. I thought that most of the people I see on my TV would die. I wondered which senator, governor, public political figure, celebrity would fall prey and be gone.

We are now almost in August. All my neighbors are fine. My family is healthy. We all at one point or another got a very bad cold. We blamed our allergies. Was it Covid?

I take my precautions. I do not mind keeping distance. I will keep on wearing my mask in stores. I will keep on washing my hands. I will keep on living until it is my time to go. And I am done being afraid.

Katrin L.





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