Shout Out to Essential Workers


Margaret Adams

It is time we acknowledge, salute and thank our Essential Workers!

In our community we have many people who are Essential Workers. A lot of the attention has been focused on doctors, nurses and emergency responders, and they deserve all of our thanks because they are working under extraordinary conditions taking care of our families.

What has received less attention is the contribution of those working behind the scenes, the ones supporting healthcare providers, supporting city services, transportation workers, and food service workers. A partial definition of an Essential Worker per the CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) is “workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.”

Historically it has been the Essential Workers who have built and maintained the foundations and infrastructure of our country.  These workers have largely been slaves, Blacks, immigrants, and other minorities who have not been given the credit they deserve, but without them this country could not have been built.

At this time I want to mention just a few Essential Workers who are members of our community.  These workers consist of people who work in environmental services, food service, housekeeping, STNAs, home healthcare, public transportation, groundskeepers and call centers.  While doctors and nurses are working hands-on taking care of patients, behind the scenes hospital workers are cleaning and disinfecting , changing bed sheets, and toileting just to name a few of the services provided by these workers.

These services have always been expected and provided by staff that are at the lower end of the wage earning scale, but if not for their services healthcare could not function properly.

While providing these services, Essential Workers, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, are at a higher risk level of exposure and stress.  They are more likely to unknowingly come into contact with the virus and possibly expose others to the virus.  While performing their duties they have an increased risk of contact or inhalation of harmful chemicals.

There is documentation that these workers are more likely to smoke, consume alcohol at higher levels, and have more chronic health conditions. These behaviors and conditions may decrease their survival rate in the unfortunate event they become infected with Coronavirus.

Given the importance of the Essential Worker it is ESSENTIAL that you, as a worker, place your health and the health of your family above all else.  Do not take unnecessary risks, follow the safety guidelines that are prescribed for your position, take that extra second to think before you put yourself at risk, make time to find ways to relieve any stress you may be feeling, exercise, eat healthy and shed those unhealthy habits.