Health care workers across the world have put themselves on the frontlines since the beginning of the spread of COVID-19. They have experienced the stress, heartbreak and terror that the virus carries with it, but each day, they show up and help those in need.
Health care workers are exposed to COVID-19 every day. Although they wear their PPE correctly and take every infection control measure to protect themselves and their patients, they, too, can become infected with the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36% of health care personnel hospitalized by the virus worked in nursing-related occupations.
Jigna Silva is one of the frontline workers at Rivergate Health Care Center. She is a physical therapist assistant and has been working full-time at the facility for 20 years.
On Nov. 10, Jigna began feeling sickly and stayed home from work. She lost her sense of smell and taste, and she had a fever, shortness of breath, difficulty in deep breathing and body aches. Jigna knew she had COVID before she took the test and was officially diagnosed on Nov. 11. She immediately self-isolated for 10 days.
Jigna is one of 54 associate COVID cases at Rivergate Health Care Center, and her experience with the virus involves the same loneliness, sadness and fear that millions of other people have experienced due to quarantine. Jigna persevered and knew that in order to get better, she must stay active physically and mentally.
“I started walking for six minutes a few times a day,” said Jigna. “I laid on my stomach and did deep breathing exercises, and it helped me a lot.”
Being a health care worker is a job fit for the brave, especially this year. Jigna has witnessed the havoc that COVID has caused firsthand for the patients she serves, as well as experiencing it herself.
Jigna urges everyone, “Please wear a mask all the time in public. If someone you know has COVID, I would suggest laying on your stomach for 15 minutes three times a day and perform deep breathing exercises. Start walking slowly and take your pulse oxygen after walking.”
Jigna has fully recovered from COVID after isolating herself for 10 days and being symptom-free. She has returned to work and is continuing to serve her patients and residents in the rehab department. We are grateful for Jigna’s service at Rivergate Health Care Center, and we are thankful that she is well.