Being Employed During COVID-19

Valarie D'Amico, Writer

To me, he is my father. To the world we live in today, he is an essential worker.

We discuss the state of the world around us as he assists my mother scrubbing down our groceries for a second time.

Fifty-one-year-old Francis ‘Frank’ D’Amico is a telecommunications technician for a company called Windstream. His job is to take care of the voice and data systems of various businesses such as hotels, offices, and most importantly these days: hospitals. Recently, he has been working in Englewood Hospital in New Jersey, which like many others, has been hit hard with treating COVID-19 patients.

D’Amico’s job consists of setting up communication for isolation rooms, so patients could answer their phones without actually touching it. That way, a doctor or a nurse or their family could call and the phone could automatically answer.

“At first it was a little chaotic, in the very beginning but it settled down,” said D’Amico.

Like any other essential worker, D’Amico is worried about being out in the world in the time of COVID-19.

“I don’t want to contract the virus or carry the virus and bring it home to my family,” he said.

D’Amico explains that Windstream provided its workers with respiratory protection, hand sanitizer, and gloves. Nevertheless, he has also taken his own precautions. The hospital he’s currently working at also provides masks and hand sanitizer on entry.

“I can make sure I’m not getting infected or infecting others,” he said.

Even with all of these precautions in place D’Amico still worries. He is wary of information given by the medical community but still follows their advice. He is also working closely with doctors and nurses and other hospital workers. When he gets home, he immediately showers and puts his clothes in the hamper for washing.

D’Amico’s wife humorously interjects with her frustrations that she has to goad him into it, as he often comes home from long shifts, but he always complies. His wife is the only one in the household who is technically a non-essential employee, working from home.

D’Amico advises other essential workers to wash their hands and be cognizant of their surroundings. He also advises them to fight off boredom when they’re home from work. He’s been playing many rounds of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and of course binging Tiger King on Netflix.