Pensacola Magazine, May 2020

Page 24


Across America, healthcare workers have been on the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 virus—working day and night on 10 to 12hour shifts. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 18 million workers. Healthcare workers are also at the highest risk of any industry sector for occupational injury and illness. As of April 15, around 9,000 U.S. health workers have contracted COVID-19.

24 Pensacola Magazine

"Baptist Health Care workers at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. photo by Guy Stevens Many workers have taken extreme measures to protect themselves and their families from contracting the virus: staying in hotel rooms, isolating themselves to sections of their house away from their family or even sending their children away to stay with relatives. For Sheralyn Echevarria, RN at West Florida Hospital Perdido Bay ER her days end with changing clothes in the garage, keeping her shoes out of the house and cleaning both her and her husband’s uniforms daily in a Lysol laundry detergent sanitizer. As a prior Air Force medic and nurse at West Florida Hospital

for two years, Echevarria explained that she stays positive by seeing the community support for healthcare workers and the camaraderie of teamwork between her coworkers and hospital staff. “I absolutely love working in healthcare. I just feel that I was put on this Earth to help others, to help them heal and to help families. It's just my passion to be a part of someone's healing process—it’s my calling,” Echevarria said. Nurses and doctors have responded to this calling of healthcare by travelling to

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