Looking out for health care workers

Looking out for health care workers

Jennifer and Erik Nesseth (left) constructed and donated three plexiglass screens like this one to help protect health care workers at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center.

Editor’s note: South Carolina Living and Humana want to celebrate the quiet heroes who are serving their neighbors in response to COVID-19. Please use the form below this story to nominate your own hero next door.

Erik Nesseth, a Pee Dee Electric Cooperative member, recognized an immediate need when he saw the changes COVID-19 brought about at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, his wife Jennifer’s employer.

Jennifer Nesseth is an athletic trainer stationed full time at the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville, but when schools were closed in early March, she was brought into the hospital to help screen patients and employees reporting for work.

“As a result of the coronavirus, we were only using three entrances at the hospital, and as screeners, we were sitting behind a table, 6 feet from the people we were checking in. We also had to take their temperatures,” she says. “We were wearing masks but there was still a sense of discomfort.”

Erik Nesseth, who works from home operating Tech Sights, a gunsight manufacturing firm, wanted to provide shields for health care workers. But when he discovered there was high demand for finished plexiglass screens—which were being installed at grocery stores, fast-food restaurants and convenience stores—he decided to build his own.

“We went out and bought the supplies ourselves and then ran it by the hospital,” he says. “They thought it was a great idea.”

The family delivered three separate 3-by-6-foot screens on March 26, paying for the entire project from their own pocket.

The screens added to the regimen Carolina Pines instituted to protect its employees. The program includes checking everyone before they enter the medical center, limiting points of entry, managing visitors, emphasizing hand hygiene and sanitizing high-touch areas, says Tanya Baker, director of infection control for the hospital. It also proved to be a morale booster.

“It’s very hard to do social distancing, to stay 6 feet away from people, when you’re checking in patients and employees, and taking their temperatures,” she says. “Having the plexiglass barriers in place was an awesome step. It absolutely helped during a time of uncertainty.”—Kevin Dietrich

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October 2020 digital edition