Essential workers with T1 during COVID-19?

Hi, wondering what other T1s out there are thinking about continuing to work during this time? I am an essential worker (healthcare) but my employer has announced a leave policy that I could take advantage of during this time while schools and other businesses are closed. I have mixed feelings - I am otherwise healthy so I have a duty to work, but I also have a duty to my own family to STAY healthy. Has anyone else had to make a decision about whether or not to keep going to work?

That’s tough decision. I’m not a health care worker so I’ll leave my opinion out of the discussion. Do you have any option to play a supporting role without face-to-face patient interaction?

ME! I am part of a small department (6 people) a children’s hospital. I need to do my job, as there are some critical patients we have to see. We have currently cancelled all outpatients and are only seeing those critical patients. We are going to be on 2 week shifts - will work from home for 2 weeks and at the hospital 2 weeks. They are really trying to keep us apart from each other and the hospital as much as possible.

I’m not worried about getting sick as I’m pretty healthy as it is, and our hospital is (of course) taking all precautions very seriously. I’m checking with my endo to make sure there is nothing extra special I need to be doing.

Hope that helps. I am not ready to take PTO to stay home when I can work safely.

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I was working for the power grid until today. I think I was laid off, but I dont know, for sure because I took PTO yesterday and today until we go remote.

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I think it would partly depend on what area of healthcare you work in. If you work in a setting that has a high chance of potential exposure…I would say maybe not (work). If you work in something like a specialty clinic where the chances of seeing someone with the coronavirus is less likely, then I would say maybe.

The American Diabetes Association did post an article that said, essentially: In general, diabetics are not necessarily more prone to getting viral infections then the general population. With the exception of when it is someone who may have complications relating to the diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease, renal impairment, where the immune system would have a harder time fighting.
The primary problem for diabetics is IF they DO get a viral infection they are at higher risk of worse outcomes.

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I retired recently so I’m sitting at home as safe as a bug in a rug. I worked for a gas utility and my job would have been essential.

Even then I could avoid most people. I feel for the guys and gals that go to our customer’s homes to service their needs. Their work is often safety related and cannot be ignored , it must be done onsite and often on an emergency basis

Utility workers are professionals and true civil servants. They will take care of the public but at what cost to themselves.

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I agree. Ultimately they’re as important as the ER doctors right now.

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I dont think that people outside of healthcare had any idea this was coming. They simply did not understand, despite all efforts to warn them. They got caught with their pants down, it seems to me. There was no need for the type of risks that were taking place. I think it bordered on callous disregard for public welfare.

But, I think we see that now across a variety of companies. You really see who you work for now, and learn a lot about the quality of judgment.

Healthcare people have a natural type of well rounded intelligence that we call ‘good judgment.’ They also tend to have goodwill. I think that priceless quality is often lacking among engineers in critical infrastructure. I find it troubling because in critical situations, judgement and honest intentions are everything.

Complicated computer systems require highly specialized knowledge and it cannot be replaced. The people who matter cannot get sick. If the wrong people get sick, the system fails. People ought to take that seriously. They do not seem to.

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I work in technology, currently as a software developer for a cancer center, and almost all of the technology staff can and are working remotely. There still needs to be some people there to help the medical staff directly, but the institution I am at rapidly moved to respond to the virus. Now, other than straight programming, I am spending more time putting out documentation for users so they can get up to speed on working and collaborating remotely, expanding capacity, since it is straining resources.

Outside of the medical community, there were some notable people that did recognize the threat, Bill Gates for one, but it sometimes is dependent upon experience. Companies that I worked with that had experienced the World Trade Center bombing in 1994 were prepared for 2001 with disaster recovery and business continuity plans. In the same way, some countries affected by the original SAR virus had strong responses:

Even before the virus began spreading in Singapore, the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong reminded the public about the 2003 SARS outbreak and said he planned to overreact to the coronavirus. “We have built up our institutions, our plans, our facilities, our stockpiles, our people, our training,” he said on Jan. 31. “Because we knew that one day something like that would happen again.”

Then there is political will. Does the government care about these things? Any administration has priorities. If they care about preparedness and responsiveness, problems are minimized. If not, people suffer.

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Work for Unemployment so going into work.

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I guess you are in one of those roles where when the economy/employment gets worse, they need you more…

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I am sorry I haven’t been online lately. My daily Starbucks coffee before work has gone away. That is when I check emails and chat with all of you.
I am one of the many essential workers that many don’t think about each and everyday. I work at Costco. So I am dealing with people who are not always at their best and don’t always use the best personal hygiene standards.
Do I worry everyday? You bet! But the reality here, I need the paycheck each week. I need the health coverage for me and the family. And the reality here is, if I don’t, it makes it so much harder for my teammates to stock, clean, ring through etc, etc etc. Would I prefer to be at home staying safe?! Yes, I would!
But after talking with my doctor, I feel my risk is about the same as everyone else. I know there is not enough research or info on diabetes.
But he said that what they have been learning from China is that those in the diabetes high risk category are type 2. My doctor said, that as long as my control stays where it is at, I should be able to handle it. The key here is the higher the blood sugars and the higher standard deviations is the more problems a person with diabetes might have.
And while I know this is not proven, but it seems sound because, I feel my control has kept me healthy for this long.
So every day, I walk to work. Every day, I get my coffee at Starbucks and drink in at work (oops, now no coffee- they are all closed) and everyday I do my job and work my 8+ hours and pray for the best.
I do pray everyone understands the social distancing and how important it is to stay home unless you absolutely have to go out. Good luck everyone and let’s pray for someone to figure this out!

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I join my prayers with yours!

And, thank you, Sally! We’re grateful you and so many others are there, helping us attain the goods we need to sustain life - i.e., food and medicine.

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I messaged my endo about working with patients and this was her reply:

The only thing extra would be extra effort to maintain good blood sugar control.
When blood sugars are elevated, the white blood cells (infection fighting cells) don’t work very well.

A coworker of mine (who also has type 1) was told by her endo to avoid patient contact as much as possible.

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I don’t think people IN healthcare had any idea this was going to get this bad. Maybe at the hospitals that were hit hard but I live in one of the epicenters and we seem to know about the same as everyone else.

I agree. We just don’t know enough to be able to answer most of these questions.
Which is why, I will keep going to work as long as I have no symptoms (but scary thought is many don’t get symptoms!) and my blood sugar control is where it usually is (but I will say my anxiety is creeping up each passing day!)
I just wish we had better relationships with all these countries that have been fighting this a little longer than us. There is probably a lot of info we could have but don’t.
I feel like we are all in this together and can only figure it out together!
So, please everyone wash your hands, stay home if you can and stay away from people! So very hard for me being from a hugger kinda family!:slightly_frowning_face:

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My take on this is that nearly all of us will get exposed at some point. If true, delaying tactics only serve to get us better treatment options when it does happen – for example, effective drugs to treat it. But because it takes so long to do testing and get FDA approval, I am not expecting any delay <6 months to be of much help.

I mean, its not like they had NO idea it was coming. I mean, I assume most critical systems have been watching this since January. The Feds had to have notified people. The grad students were watching it like hawks since Jan. But, I could be wrong. I dont know what to think about these latest estimates… 2 months is what we estimated. I think this newest 40-80% estimate assumes a 2 week shelter in place (which is ridiculous. That wont work). Thats not how this is gonna work for us. This is a 2 month thing. We are waiting out the season for 2 months to get outta this.

Makes me wonder though…maybe nobody knew at all? And, what percent of the population is currently sheltering in place? That is really unclear to me. This morning (MOnday), there were a lot of cars on the road. But, Sunday everything looked totally deserted. The kids at the gas station said 5 people came in all day.

I feel certain that we will have something within the year. What we need is something by about the September time frame in order to vaccinate everybody. If it mutates, we will have trouble

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I work for a household name towing company as a dispatcher. Our call receivers have mostly moved to home-based workers but they absolutely refuse to let any dispatchers work from home. They COULD but they refuse. And this is what makes me mad. There is no reason at all why we couldn’t work from home except getting equipment ready. But as was stated above, I need the pay check and insurance. IF you catch it, you get to use your sick/vacation time (next to none left) and then go on short-term disability (66 2/3 pay) but only if you get it.

They are practicing social distancing, though, and spreading us out. Desks are wiped down by us every 2 hours with Clorox wipes. Everything is shut down except for the bathroom, and we eat at our desks. No microwaves, fridges, ice, meal delivery or anything. Feels like a prison to me. But I try to stay positive.

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