Part of our Together While Apart campaign, #MyMaskMyStory is a collection of personal accounts from individuals with deep ties to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those who have volunteered, those who have donated, and those who have received.
Edited by Dilber Shatursun
“Since the pandemic has started, it has really refocused what I’ve been doing [including] the functions of the Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas to try to prepare ourselves to be able to keep our patients safe, our staff safe, and, at the same time, provide outstanding care to those patients who are symptomatic or asymptomatic- or have COVID-19 or don’t have COVID-19. So we’ve gone to great lengths to change the way we have done care.”
“For example, previously, a patient would just be able to either call, get an appointment, or walk-into the clinic and get an appointment. Now there’s a lot of screening that goes on with the phone calls, and before a patient comes into our clinic, they’re asked a series of questions, or given a face mask, their hands are cleaned, and then we also have the ability to do testing for COVID-19 at this time.”
“We do telephone visits to try to keep those patients that might be at really high risk for developing a fatal complication of COVID-19… those patients with heart conditions, lung conditions, or diabetes, or other major medical problems that put them at high risk for a bad outcome if they were to acquire COVID-19. And so, we’re trying to give them good care but potentially via telephone unless it’s indicated for them to come in, [including] immunizations to children… all those things that require ongoing healthcare maintenance for prevention.”
“Clinica de Salud has tried to have as much outreach as possible for the purposes of education, but also supplying masks which are really a key element in [prevention]. There’s a tremendous amount of evidence that wearing a mask is important in the transmission of COVID-19 and actually saving lives. And, we try to give them pointers on this is social distancing and the rationale for that, the importance of cleaning one’s hands, not touching their eyes, nose, or mouth, especially if their hands are not clean.”
“[As for masks], we do use the device longer than it was initially intended for, like the N95 mask. We use it for at least a week, and we cover it with a surgical mask to prolong the life of it and to reduce the amount of supply that we need. The donation that Tzu Chi USA has provided [us], what that’s going to do is allow us to distribute those masks to the farmworker community- which is the emphasis of the mission of Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas… to provide those masks to help protect them and their co-workers and their families during this pandemic.”
“To the people at Tzu Chi, all I would like to say is: thank you from the bottom of my heart. [It’s a] very humanitarian, kind gesture. The name of your organization, translated, is compassion and relief- and I can’t think of a better name for an organization [who is] providing such a wonderful and thoughtful altruistic gift or blessing. Thank you very much.”
Dr. Victor Brooks is the Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas. After accepting donations of 9,000 surgical masks, 1,700 cloth masks, 350 N95 respirators, 100 goggles, 50 face shields from Tzu Chi USA, we are humbled to share his story. Discover the full #MyMaskMyStory collection here, and help us do more to keep vulnerable communities more protected from infection through our Together While Apart fundraising campaign.