My name is Jaccqueline Benedick and this is my new normal.
Most don’t know me as my real name, as I am unable to wear my name tag.
I have been a health care employee for just shy of 30 years.
I have been through Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and a viral respiratory illness known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), etc. in this time.
I work with the only mobile lab service in British Columbia, working in care homes in the Lower Mainland and people’s private residences taking blood samples, receiving swabs (COVID-positive included) and performing ECG’s as many of my co-workers do all over British Columbia.
While care homes are on lockdown, we are going into these facilities every day – and have not stopped since the COVID pandemic started, regardless if they were in the midst of an outbreak.
We service all care homes, including ones past and present that have COVID outbreaks.
While people are being told to stay home and are quarantined, who does the government think is taking their blood and performing their heart tests?
When a person is COVID-positive and not quite sick enough for hospitalization, who is helping them on the road to recovery?
I am that essential/not essential worker, according the government, who is asked to provide service to them, not the essential workers (hospital staff) – I am not downplaying the hospitals role only merely using this for my example.
It’s the LifeLabs mobile lab service.
And, I am very baffled as to what is considered essential for the hazard pay? My employer, LifeLabs, considers us an essential service and has always and does provide us with proper PPE to deal with past and current pandemics.
My question is, if my company takes this seriously – providing us with our new look (gowns gloves, mask and shield) since beginning of March, which may I add was a lot earlier than a lot of other healthcare were wearing proper PPE – then why does the government not consider us for hazard pay?
I love my work and will continue to do my job regardless. But the fact that I walk out of my house every day not knowing what I will be faced with and potentially putting my family at a higher risk than other professions does not make sense to me.
I feel betrayed by a government that wants to show us all the support they can?
I’m sorry, but I feel very let down and not just for me but for my family of co-workers who bust their butts – COVID
positive, sick, mentally ill, or otherwise.
If I have to wear gown, mask, gloves, and face shield to do my job and get paid, I am either a little bit off or I am by all rights deemed an essential service.
Jacqueline Benedick, Pitt Meadows
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