On Friday morning, a nurse garbed in a blue medical gown, wearing two masks, a face shield and gloves, walked down the rows of cars at the Northern Regional Community Health Center. She stopped at each car, taking down information from people anxious to get their COVID-19 tests.
It was a typical Guam day. It would be sunny with a light breeze but then 10 minutes later clouds would gather above and send a drizzle of rain. Then the sun would come back out.
She marched on. Going car to car, she spoke to residents. She was pleasant and even smiled during her conversations.
She is our hero. One of many who have worked during this pandemic to help people – some who may have the novel coronavirus and some who are simply praying they don’t.
Eight months into the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 positives on Guam continues to surge. Some of the island’s elected and appointed officials are looking for ways to expand hospital capacity, and strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, there are those who work, in the rain, the sun, the blowing wind and around the clock to fight the virus. Additionally, there are the people who continue to support our medical workers and all Guamanians.
The nurses and doctors and other staff at the Department of Public Health and Social Services, Guam Memorial Hospital and other hospitals, and the clinics and labs that support our island’s medical health have a tough job. Not only are they dealing with the pandemic, but according to Dr. Hoa Nguyen, they're also dealing with what was an increase in patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other comorbidities. And on top of that, these health care workers are people with families, loved ones who may also have medical histories that make them vulnerable to the contagious respiratory illness snaking through our community.
Standing alongside the medical community are our Guam National Guard personnel and Guam Police Department officers who assist at testing, quarantine and isolation sites. They too, have families. Not only do these folks worry about catching the virus while on the job, they’re probably more fearful of passing it on to their loved ones.
Our first responders, GPD and Guam Fire Department firefighters and medics, also face dangers everyday. The risk that comes with their jobs is multiplied many times over because of the novel coronavirus.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the many private sector employees who work at our grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and the many other businesses that are essential to our daily lives.
You are all heroes who maybe don’t get the applause you deserve on a daily basis, but know that you are appreciated. Very much.
Thank you all for what you do.