BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Behind layers of personal protective equipment, Kathleen Bailey is just trying to make it through the coronavirus crisis in the acute care unit at Johns Hopkins.

“It’s just a very different way of life at work now,” said Bailey who told WJZ the hardest part has been not being able to connect with people because they all have to stay distant and cover their entire faces.

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“It takes a toll because you have this PPE on all day and you can’t really interact with the patients. We’re so disconnected because we are used to sitting down and talking face to face and you can’t do it now,” she said

Since 2007, Bailey has been working at Johns Hopkins. She works in a unit with 24 beds and right now, they are all occupied with severely ill COVID 19 patients.

Some of the serious cases die while at the hospital and Bailey said the staff at Johns Hopkins has tried to let family see their loved one before they pass.

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“It’s very difficult to do that but we have been able to, but it’s still an end of life situation and its terrible,” she said.

Working extra hours at the hospital, on the front lines of this fight since the outbreak began, now with new protocols and coming home to a family who needs her care, Bailey said it is a lot to handle.

She showers at the office and leaves her scrubs there to be washed so she does not expose her family. Bailey said, “that takes an extra half hour to hour so I’m missing out on that time being home with my family and then I come home and its immediate ‘mom mode.’”

Bailey said though the struggles have been many, and the challenges have been constant the community has rallied around health care workers unlike ever before and she said they appreciate the love and support. “I can probably speak for everybody; never have I done this job for the praise or the thanks, but it is really nice to see health care workers getting recognized,” she said.

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Gov. Hogan’s orders to stay home and social distance yourself is helping, Bailey said, keep the numbers inside hospitals manageable. She encourages people to continue following safe practices so this pandemic can be over.

Rachael Cardin