While most of us are staying home and social distancing, some workers are not that lucky. Among those most at risk of COVID-19 are janitors, domestic workers, housekeeping and office cleaning crews.
Jhonelly Gil, a crisis home janitor at Bellevue Hospital in New York spends many days cleaning the blood and urine from the most harmful floors of COVID-19 affected individual rooms. This is done, all to keep healthcare personnel protected from the coronavirus.
“It’s annoying observing folks on equipment, you know, so ill and and how risky the disorder is, you know, you have to be excess thorough,” explained Gil, 33, an 11-year veteran of Bellevue. “But I test not to feel about it much too substantially mainly because, you know, I really don’t want to mentally break down and not be able to get the job performed.”
Nonclinical workers from the hospital have been decimated by day-to-day call outs because of lack of childcare, sickness or fear, so Gil has been doing the job full shifts even when he’s not scheduled.
“Being useful is my joy in this scenario,” stated Gil. “I’m content to be cleaning people rooms and preserving the region thoroughly clean to assistance other individuals triumph over this situation and be component of this healthcare facility in this essential time.”
— NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue (@BellevueHosp) September 14, 2015
Irrespective of the trauma he endures each individual day functioning on the frontlines, and the heartbreak he feels getting separated from his girlfriend, becoming very important to his “hospital family” is what gets him out of mattress each early morning to do it all over once again.
Cleaning hospital workers “likely face similar to higher risks as others who still have to report to work,” said Steven Wallace, a professor in the community health sciences department at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
In fact, they’re on the front lines of fighting this global pandemic, as they are responsible for deep cleaning, disinfecting and scrubbing the surfaces and areas that are hosts of potentially dangerous germs and viruses. Many of them work with elderly individuals as a part of their jobs, and many of them are also immigrants—which puts them at another, complicated risk of infection from the new coronavirus.
In this time of panic, anxiety and uncertainty, it’s easy to focus on ourselves and our own needs. However, it’s important that us, even in the Caribbean understand who is working to keep citizens healthy in the face of this pandemic. Healthcare workers, first responders and cleaning workers are all on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak while the rest of us stay inside and social distance.