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Let's Protect Each Other

As a healthcare worker for over 37 years, I have enjoyed the camaraderie found in the workplace, especially during stressful and difficult times. Over the last year and a half, with the onset of Covid-19, there has been no greater challenge. Stresses from the unknown, supply availability, increase work hours, and deaths of our workplace family members have occurred. As with the outside world that surrounds us, those not on the frontlines day in and day out, burnout related to these stresses continues to grow. Recently spending time in one of the nation's hotspots for the Covid-19 Delta variant, I have witnessed it for myself. Self-protection is becoming slack more often; I even found myself becoming lax at times too. As the Covid variants (Delta and MU) continue to surge, we need to stay vigilant and protect each other.

In a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), an outbreak was related to an unmasked teacher at a California school. The teacher had, on occasion, read out loud the students. Of those closest to the teacher, students in the first two rows, the outbreak rate was 80%. The remaining three back rows had a positive Covid-19 rate of 28%. The school had put mitigation strategies in place, as the student's desks had a separation distance of at least six feet. One keynote to the story is that the teacher became symptomatic 2 days before being tested and worked during this time.

I bring up this story because I experienced similar behaviors in the workplace. As healthcare workers, we tend to place others ahead of ourselves. Hospitals are short staff, and the work is hard. Healthcare workers habitually feel that their job importance outweighs their personal sacrifice. I can say in some circumstances it does. We come to work to support our patient's needs. However, in these circumstances, personal sacrifice may become the sacrifice of others and our patients. So take care of yourself, stay at home if you are ill, and wear a mask.

Reference: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Outbreak Associated with SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant in an Elementary School — Marin County, California, May–June 2021

Weekly / September 3, 2021 / 70(35);1214–1219

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