The Frontlines: Healthcare Workers on COVID-19

By: Ben Kimberling

Since opening back up, the Jenks Central Campus has seen 206 total cases and 338 cases in the entire Jenks district as of September 22. Students have had to adapt to new conditions in their day to day environment. Becky Reinholz and Dr. Barton at the Saint Francis Children’s Hospital have also been adapting to new conditions because of COVID-19 and battling the pandemic. We spoke with these healthcare workers to get their experiences working so far and perspectives on the current state of the pandemic.

Becky Reinholz, Nurse Manager at the PICU in Saint Francis Children’s Hospital.

“We have a moral obligation to take care of our patients no matter their diagnosis, but you still care about the staff who are putting their family at risk.” says Reinholz, Nurse Manager in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) at Saint Francis Children’s Hospital. “Where we started on day 1 of this, as it has evolved, that’s not where we are today.” 

As a nurse manager, Reinholz has been managing her staff’s fears and communicating when she knows they need it.

Unit Operation:

  • Employees must double mask and wear goggles
  • Patient visitation limited to 1-2 family members
  • COVID-19 patients are put into a negative pressure room that recirculates air
Dr. Barton, Intensive Care Doctor at the PICU in Saint Francis Children’s Hospital.

“We have not had much in the way of admissions with COVID-19 as far as children are concerned, at our hospital.” says Dr. Barton, Intensive Care Doctor, also in the PICU. “That still doesn’t mean we do not practice safety differently right now because we are conscious about spreading disease just like everybody else. ”

At the PICU, where both Reinholz and Dr. Barton work, there have been 2 patients in the unit because of COVID-19. Both patients were diagnosed with pneumonia because of COVID-19, and ended up home safe after a week.

“I’m not gonna compare [COVID-19] to influenza and say it’s the same, cause it’s not, but if you look at the mortality rates … COVID is really not as dangerous as influenza is.” states Dr. Barton. “I think probably at the very earliest, we will have FDA approval for a vaccine, will be likely in January or February and I think it will likely be widely distributed by March and April. That’s what I think. Which means by mid to late spring 2021, things should be back to normal.”

The vaccine testing process usually takes around 18-24 months, but has been sped up due to COVID-19. 

“As we study this retrospectively, I think what we hope for in the healthcare field is if this would happen again, what have we learned so that we do it better,” states Reinholz. “I just hope that’s what comes out of it.” 

COVID-19 is still prevalent and hospitals are very busy, with more and more new cases in Jenks and around the world everyday. To learn more about COVID-19 in Oklahoma, you can go to https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/.

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