Coronavirus: How essential workers are braving the fight against an invisible enemy
Durban - "We know the risks associated with working in the healthcare field. Everyday has its dangers. With a pandemic such as this we just take extra precautions such as ensuring that your uniforms are disinfected, boots sprayed down before greeting your family. I make sure I change and shower in disinfectant before I greet my family after every shift to try and ensure I don’t cross contaminate any germs from work to home," this is according to first responder, Kyle van Reenen.
Van Reenen is one of thousands of essential workers risking their lives everyday as the fight continues against 'the invisible enemy' known as Covid-19.
Van Reenen, a spokesperson for Crisis Medical and Marshall Security, has been in the emergency field for the last 11 years.
Each day, he dons his uniform and continues to work on the frontlines.
Recently, van Reenen and his crew treated four people who presented with Covid-19 symptoms however, they were able to treat the patients and get them to medical facilities.
"Every day has its challenges, we learn to deal with them. Its important to chat to peers and to communicate amongst your team," he said.
He urged his fellow frontline fighters to stay safe.
"Wear your Personal Protective Equipment and consider every patient to be positive until proven otherwise," he said.
Another first respondent, Garrith Jamieson said has been a paramedic for 20 years.
"I won't lie I am petrified however I became a paramedic to help and I took a oath to do that. I cant pick and choose when to work," Jamieson said.
He said while he has not come into contact with a positive patient, he has prepared himself mentally for it.
Jamieson said he was grateful to have an awesome support structure during such a difficult time.
He went on to urge residents to please listen to the warning by President Cyril Ramaphosa to flatten the curve and stay at home.
"He has made a very wise decision and I feel people aren't taking him seriously. If we don't listen this virus will kill people," he said.
A police officer, who asked not to be named, said it's been a tough few days but he is thankful that he can rely on his family and his colleagues to keep their sense of humour and help him cope.
"I work in a specialised unit and we've been tasked with patrolling different areas and some known hot spots. It's unnerving to see how there are those who are ignoring the restrictions outright and just continuing with normal life. While there is a steady increase and it's not spreading as fast as it is in other countries, we still need to take it seriously," he said.
The officer urged essential workers to stay safe while they continue with their duties to serve and protect.
* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za