Storyteller: Garette Minzey
Kasey’s day to day life changed slowly when the state decided to close for the first time, and then abruptly when the nursing home started reporting cases of residents and employees catching Covid. Kasey being the person that handles all residents’ personal belongings, it startled her to work in that environment without even wearing a mask at first, as no one was encouraging them yet.
Kasey’s coworkers got sick due to wearing the same PPE twelve hours a day, every day for months. She also stated how the administrators were not sharing who had Covid and were only telling the workers to wear their PPE. Once the cases kept spreading within the facility, my mother knew that it was best for her to stop working, as she did not want to risk getting her two young boys sick at home.
Because Kasey was a healthcare worker, she was not allowed to receive unemployment benefits, so her boss decided to put her on leave so that she could receive them, along with a few other employees that were at risk and were not as needed at the time (not front-line workers such as nurses and CNAs). However, the administration discovered this and ordered that everyone on leave be fired.
Kasey described how upset she was at losing her job of three years with amazing benefits, a job that she truly enjoyed and did not want to lose. However, she knew she did what was best for her children and could not risk putting herself or her kids in harm’s way. Thankfully, she received PUA after being let go from the nursing home.
Kasey has lost an income, a job she cared about, she has lost a sense of security. Not just because she fears Covid, but because she is not sure how long her unemployment will last or when the government will step in again for people laid off or just struggling amidst the pandemic. She also missed the freedoms she has lost, like being able to see friends and family. Kasey has gained a greater appreciation for loved ones and family she does not see every day. While discussing these issues Kasey stated, “I’ve never had to miss you before, this is weird.”