Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic

An already essential job taking a whole new meaning during the height of COVID-19.

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — They are some of the most important and often overlooked essential workers. Those working the front lines alongside doctors and nurses.

Making sure every inch at Sanford Broadway Clinic in Fargo is kept clean and safe.

“We kind of look at ourselves as the caretakers of the caretakers where we try to facilitate for the actual caretakers that do one on one patient care. So that they can give that best care possible,” Sanford Health Lead Maintenance Mechanic, Josh Ulschmid said.

An already essential job taking a whole new meaning during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had an impact, we provided a safer environment, a cleaner environment and I think that’s important for anybody’s moral when you walk into a clean place as opposed to one that’s not so clean. So, I think we played an important role,” Sanford Health Environmental Services Lead, Regina Bennett said.

Hospital maintenance technicians in charge of transforming regular patient rooms into covid care units… forced to think on their feet.

“Every single room that a COVID patient stayed in had an exhaust fan. We installed the fans to create a negative pressure system in the room. It made it so that it was safer out in the hallways and stuff wouldn’t just spread around everywhere,” said Ulschmid.

And environmental service workers tasked with the most difficult of all… keeping germs at bay.

“We always wore all the proper PPE. So, the N95 mask and then a face shield and a gown and gloves and then we went into the room making sure we highlighted all the touch points. Everything that gets touched we try to get to. Top, bottom, left, right,” Bennett said.

With up to 26 rooms per day, 30 minutes per room and 17 cleaning touch points on her list. For Bennett it was more than just a number and a cleaning schedule.

“I’d just come in and we chit-chatted and sometimes you’d clean a little slower if you needed to chit-chat a little longer. Just trying to lighten the day a little bit. They were here with no visitors and I think after a period of time the television would get a little old and I’m sure some of the days were kind of long for some of the patients,” added Bennett.

Now as coronavirus cases dwindle and the majority of covid units are transformed back into regular patient rooms Ulschmid and Bennett remain hopeful of the future.

“I’m still cautious when you hear of all the increasing covid cases in many different states so I’m just going okay. We’ll see what happens one day at a time, everyday is different,” Bennett said.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to this we know it’s there we can get through this,” said Ulschmid.

Sanford Health encourages people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. You can find more information here.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Health, North Dakota News