Article by Steven Hyde | Owl Staff
Most people know someone who has been affected by the global pandemic, whether for better or worse. Meet Tabbie Horner, a local EMT and frontline worker for a private ambulance company in Parkville, Maryland. She has served her community for the past two years as an EMT and is working towards a Paramedic certification.
“The pandemic impacted my job immensely,” states Horner. “I have to constantly sanitize and wash my hands. We have to be very cautious with every contact we make whether it’s the patient or the nursing home staff or with family members.”
She has seen the worst of this pandemic and must be incredibly cautious with everything she does because of it. Wearing two masks at once that leave lines for hours afterwards on her face is just the start of the effects on her.
As this disaster started, she noticed her hours beginning to be cut due to everything shutting down. “I went from 36-48hr weeks to 24hr weeks since everything was shut down and there were no doctors’ appointments,” Horner states. But as it got worse and cases grew, she began to see her hours climb and the stress that went along with it.
COVID patients cannot take a taxi or Uber home, which leaves her with many transports of infected patients. “Now I work five days a week,” says Horner. “We are constantly busy with calls now.”
Her work has changed greatly since she began. What once was a simple transport of the elderly for a routine doctor’s appointment now starts with a pre-work screening. “I have to get my temperature taken, answer questions, sanitize, wear googles and N95 masks,” Horner states. This process starts her day, taking about ten minutes at the beginning of shift.
“I have to spray down everything in the ambulance after every patient,” states Horner. This is another ten minutes each time, “And after six to eight patients a day that is over an hour to slow our already busy schedule down.”
Perhaps the biggest toll this pandemic has taken is on her personal life. “I’m not able to see friends and a lot of family,” states Horner. Being a brave frontline worker like her, she must limit contact with the public as much as she can due to any possibility of catching the virus herself from the constant and valiant exposure.
Thanks to the recent advancements made for immunizations, Horner has recently been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. “I’m hoping now I can have more contact with people I haven’t seen in a year,” states Horner.
Heroes are all around us. Horner is a great example of the crucial frontline workers helping to pave a safe and healthy future for all of us through her sacrifices. Thank you to all who continue the fight the greater cause. Lastly, Horner wants everyone to remember, “Wear the mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance. We’re in this together!”