Jones-Harrison infection preventionist: ‘Every week is another week we are closer to the peak’

The Southwest Journal is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by recording the personal stories of Minneapolis residents and workers whose daily lives are in a state of flux. As the outbreak evolves, we will be checking in with the participants regularly. Read all of the stories here.

All interviews are conducted over the phone, and conversations are edited for length and clarity.

Barb Joyce, infection preventionist, Jones-Harrison senior living 

I’m actually in a truck, going to get some personal protective equipment from the City of Minneapolis at a double-secret location. I’m hoping it’s going to be a big shipment, so let’s just say a prayer. 

Today my headspace is still at the level of “we can.” We can treat it, we can care for it, we can limit it — we can. We are doing everything imaginable, based off of what we know, to tame this beast. 

Every week is another week we are closer to the peak, and then we can start breathing again. Every Monday I go in and I am fighting. Every Thursday I come out and I say, “You know, I did what I could, and it’s the best it can be, and another week at zero is a pretty nice place to be.” And I say prayers for all of those who aren’t in that space — those who have it and are nervous and are tamping down the fears of their staff. I feel for them.

We’re still at zero cases and being creative. Our reception desk doesn’t have a shield, or a glass partition. So our maintenance team created a plastic shield that covers the guest space for when visitors come into the building and have to do the initial screening. 

Everybody is working toward improvements while we still have time. And then when it does come in that door, we’re going to feel comfortable and confident and competent in how to take care of a patient and contain it to their room. Because we have to take care of these people so that the people who need hospitals have a bed to go to. That’s our goal.