“It’s an enemy we don’t really know how to fight yet,” said Debra Duncan.
“It’s been challenging,” said Shawn Smith.
Duncan and Smith are both on the front line, face-to-face with coronavirus. They are both benefitting from generous donations from local schools and individuals.
Debra Duncan is a registered nurse in Sharp Chula Vista’s emergency room. Shawn Smith is one of their lead respiratory therapists.
Duncan said she’s been exposed to every germ possible in the ER.
“I don’t get sick ever,” she said. “But this one’s a little scary because if I catch it, I don’t have any immunity to it.”
“Literally at times we’re in people’s faces in the worst-case scenario, worst-case timing,” Smith said.
“You’re right there. You’re in their face,” said Duncan about patients who might have coronavirus. “You can’t get away from it. So, you need that most protective mask.”
Sharp Healthcare said it has enough masks for its medical staff. However, Duncan said they’ve been told the supply is not endless.
“So, it’s really challenging to the healthcare industry, not just here in Chula Vista but worldwide,” Smith added.
A Sharp spokesperson said more than 100,000 face masks, gloves, and goggles have poured into Sharp Healthcare since the hospitals began accepting donations of personal protective equipment. Those donations came from individuals and schools like Southwestern College and Olympian High School.
“It’s overwhelming and it’s heart-warming and it makes us feel very loved and protected by our community,” Duncan said.
“What really moves us at this time is we’re usually giving to the community and now the community is giving back to us,” Smith said. “We’ll be out here. We’ll be here to take care of you guys when you need it.”
“We have to stay safe so that we’re here for them when they need us,” Duncan concluded.
Sharp Healthcare said it will continue accepting donations of professional grade PPE at its hospitals.