Developed by Seabourne Consulting, experts in Community of Support

Community of Support

Copyright
2020
Published Date
03/23/2020
Published By
Community Commons

Our hearts go out to you all at this difficult time in our communities and across the nation and world. Many of you are at the frontline of response efforts. We are grateful for you, and proud to be part of this community of public health and community change-makers.


We believe in the power of storytelling to build empathy and support and to inspire each other. And, we believe in continuing to cultivate this community of change-makers we’ve developed through Community Commons. Below are the stories we have collected from you, our Commons family, regarding your hopes, fears, and experiences during this outbreak.


We invite you to share your narrative with us as well. We’ll add it to this story bank and together, we’ll build this community of support. 




I am a senior nursing student at the University of Kentucky currently in my Public Health and Psych semester with plans to graduate in December 2020.

While continuing my education online, I will also continue to work at my job back home as a Nurse Extern in the Emergency Department at an area hospital. I recognize that this is my time as a nurse extern and future nurse to step up, do my part, and use my knowledge to care for patients.

My perspective as a student is unique in that working in the ER also puts me on the frontline during this COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a look into my experience:

"I have seen my coworkers exhibit bravery, dedication, and compassion despite adversity. Everyone throughout the facility has come together to work as a team: doctors and providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, environmental services, food services, lab and nurse techs, EMS, the administration and more.

I understand that this has been happening all over the country from healthcare and public service workers. Thank them. They are our true heroes during this time. They have given up time away from families and are risking their health to step up and care for the public and patients."

--Kelsey Young, Community Commons Member


Kelsey wrote a wonderfully detailed narrative of her experiences. In the interest of space for everyone, we have in clipped it here and the full story can be read at the bottom of the page.





Happy to report all is well in deep south Texas (Hidalgo County). We have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus. We are planning and have utilized Community Commons maps to plot low income areas without access to grocery stores in our county. This allows us to possibly develop food distribution sites for families who may not have access but may be in need of nutritional assistance. Thanks for that information.
--Jaime Longoria, Hidalgo County Community Service Agency



"These are hard times. But I believe this will make us stronger. While I know it’s hard to feel like we’ve had to pull back, it’s like an arrow. To fly further straight ahead, it has to be pulled back, aimed, and focused. We’re at that stage now, but the good news is, when the time is right, we’ll launch ahead further than before."
--Adam Brietzke, IP3

Algoma, Wisconsin is a finalist for the 2020 All-America City Award. This year's theme: enhancing health and well-being through civic engagement. This announcement could not have come at a better time for Algoma as we face the impact of COVID-19.

The All-America City Award recognizes communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues. Although COVID-19 is a global issue, we have locally turned our pain into opportunity. In the face of this adversity, we have used our collective power and action to think abundantly to address local needs.

For example, in less than one week, the Algoma School District was able to transition the brick-and-mortar education system into a interconnected, virtual space; building the capacity of staff, students and parents with essential steps, important tools, and key concepts needed along the journey. The Algoma School District, leveraging its identity as the city's integrator, created a call-to-action with key partners to pull our shared resources together and ensure all students, especially those most marginalized and oppressed, have access to internet.

In addition, administration of the school district elevated community members and other support staff to lead various action teams in order to support the vital conditions of individuals' health and well-being; most specifically, ensuring that individuals in Algoma have access to their basic needs by providing free meals and delivery. We also must note the network of Youth Change Agents (high school students) who have committed themselves to the heavy lifting of ensuring that NO child in our after-school program becomes isolated, fearful, or alone.

The culture that has been developed over the last nine years in Algoma is the reason we are able to act fast in the face of a crisis. In the next few weeks ahead, Live Algoma will share real #BrightSpot stories that can be scaled to communities of all types and sizes -- offering hope -- and a model for others on ways to join hands on a journey towards a sustainable, thriving community.

--Teal VanLanen, Algoma School District, Live Algoma

My daughter has worked so hard throughout high school. A large part of her identity is tied to being an excellent student. Now, as she's finally reached the fun part of senior year, everything she's waiting so long for--senior internship, the senior play, prom, college visits, and even graduation, is up in the air. My heart aches for her. I just hope that the coronavirus is contained soon!
--Denise Woodin, YMCA of Rye NY


Fun Family Idea: Socially Distant Scavenger Hunt

If you want to maintain community connections while giving local kids something to do outside that maintain social distance, consider starting a neighborhood (socially distant) scavenger hunt. Email your neighborhood listserv or post on your neighborhood Facebook page, asking neighbors to put interesting items in their yards or around the neighborhood, in locations where kids can see them without moving or touching anything.

Ideas for items include seasonal decorations, toys, balloons, bows, or gardening tools. Something as simple as tennis balls placed in a tree can be a fun scavenger item. Create a shared list of items where each neighbor can record their contribution. A shared Google document works well for this. Capturing the location or street of each item is also recommended, allowing families to focus their search on certain streets. Families can walk around, searching for the items and recording them by taking a picture--no touching!

Some families may want to have a prize system for finding items, like stickers, treats or movie time. Once a week, ask neighbors to switch up the items they have on display (and edit the list accordingly). Some families make searching for new items a part of the new daily routine. This can help ground kids in an uncertain time, and may even be remembered fondly when the public health emergency ends. Enjoy!
--Marta Kuperwasser, WE in the World

This is a really tough time for all. It feels like a nightmare that doesn't go away even when you wake up. Today I wanted to make a quick trip to the store. There was much trepidation as the parking lot was packed and many people in this mega-store. Many people are looking for toilet paper. Fortunately I have enough toilet paper just looking for some perishable items to help with my rhinovirus.


At any rate I was struck by the number of people in their 80's shopping side by side with many other people. There were at least 10 people wearing a mask. One lady passed by me and stated " this is terrible, this is terrible", in reference to the coronavirus issue, "I don't know, is it from God?" I hunched my shoulders because my voice doesn't allow me to speak at this time. My mind was in a bit of a frenzy because this store situation is the antithesis of social distancing. I observed people in the lines of the pharmacy, they were inches apart. Then at check out I noted for the self serve it was all touch screen. Lordy, I thought to myself. Fortunately I always carry hand sanitizer in my car. As I was leaving the store I heard an employee telling someone else (paraphrased) there is a man dressed up in full infectious gear, should we stop him at the door.

I had so much hope for the year but it is turning surreal- Kobe died, NCAA tournaments were canceled, people are dying, we can't even shake hands or hug. Anyway I will stop there. Thanks. This is a good way to get some of the emotion out.

--Terri Richardson, Community Commons Member



This is Kelsey's full story that was clipped above.

I am a senior nursing student at the University of Kentucky currently in my Public Health and Psych semester with plans to graduate in December 2020. I am writing this letter after just finding out that all classes have been moved to online for the duration of the semester, as have our clinical experiences and all exams.

While continuing my education online, I will also continue to work at my job back home as a Nurse Extern in the Emergency Department at an area hospital. I recognize that this is my time as a nurse extern and future nurse to step up, do my part, and use my knowledge to care for patients.

My perspective as a student is unique in that working in the ER also puts me on the frontline during this COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a look into my experience.


12-hour shifts look a little different now.

Screenings

We are screening every patient and visitor that enters the ER. The screening process consists of a series of questions: Have you been out of the country in the past 14 days? Have you been in contact with any individuals testing positive for COVID-19? Are you having any lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) or a fever?

If the patient answers yes to any of the questions, we give them a level one surgical mask and take them to a neutral pressurized quarantine zone. If the visitor answers yes, they are asked to leave and are not allowed to enter the hospital. Amid this crisis, the facility I work at, like many other hospitals, has had to strictly limit the number of visitors permitted to reduce the risk of exposure.


PPE

As healthcare professionals, we are especially challenged by the national supply shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). The CDC has continued to alter our guidelines for wearing PPE to account for this shortage. For example, where N-95 masks (a respirator mask that prevents even the smallest of airborne particles from entering and is specifically fitted to your face) used to be the standard in several settings, we are now allowed to wear a level 3 mask (a surgical mask without a filter that is not fitted). We are also having to ration N-95 masks and are allowed to reuse level 3 masks despite them being designed for single use only. In some facilities, they have run out of all masks altogether and healthcare employees are being forced to cover their faces with bandanas as a last resort.


Testing

Another challenge? Testing.

When the crisis first hit, our department was flooded with patients with and without symptoms requesting to be tested after the media announced that anyone symptomatic or with potential exposure should be tested. The problem was that we didn’t have the tests. There was (and still remains) a national shortage of testing materials and laboratories (both state and private) that would accept specimens for testing. As providers, we can request tests but only if a patient meets narrow testing criteria. This means that not everyone who is symptomatic and requesting testing will be tested.

Thankfully, subsequent statements have been released informing the public that unless you are having respiratory issues, please remain at home and treat the symptoms. This helped in reducing the patient surge making the number of patients much more manageable and overall lowering the potential for exposures.


First positive case

As of the time I’m writing this, the facility where I work has had 1 positive coronavirus case. I am happy to say we are adhering to the appropriate CDC precautions to protect ourselves and patients. We began instituting our precautions with PPE, isolation, and neutral pressure areas long before the positive case hit the facility. And as of right now for our department, staffing is not an issue. Everyone has stepped up to pick up shifts and cover holes to support each other and provide excellent care to patients, which is something I am so proud of.

I have seen my coworkers exhibit bravery, dedication, and compassion despite adversity. Everyone throughout the facility has come together to work as a team: doctors and providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, environmental services, food services, lab and nurse techs, EMS, the administration and more. I understand that this has been happening all over the country from healthcare and public service workers. Thank them. They are our true heroes during this time. They have given up time away from families and are risking their health to step up and care for the public and patients.

Despite the number of cases rising in the United States, if we take the proper precautions regarding self-isolation, we will begin to see a decline in new cases and ultimately deaths. We need to take this risk seriously regardless of our age or health status. My plea as a nursing student is to please wash your hands, stay educated, stay home, and protect yourself and others. Do not take your health for granted, tell your loved ones you love them, and be kind—especially to our healthcare workers. --Kelsey Young, Community Commons Member

Resources & Tools


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Coping with Corona Virus Related Challenges
Resource - Webinar
Published on 03/14/2020
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 Related Topics


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Coronavirus Pandemic