One of my COVID-19 Case Investigations Experiences

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One of my COVID-19 Case Investigations Experiences

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I work as a COVID-19 medical investigator for the Arizona county in which I live. I recently called on a monolingual Spanish speaker who turned out to be a retirement-age mother of adult children and infant grandchildren. The first time we spoke, she very politely agreed to complete our medical interview by phone, and I began working through the initial demographics section. As she answered my questions, she began asking questions of her own regarding her potential experience and that of her family, all of whom were ill by that time or presumed to be positive due to extended close contact. The pace and tone of her speech evolved as her volume increased, and her intense emotional distress required no common language to comprehend. The primary source of her concern was her adult daughter who lived at another location with her two children. Our case feared her daughter had to have immediate help to even dial a phone, much less to care for herself and her children. The case wanted to break isolation at her home to travel to her daughter' home to aid her child and grandchildren, but, with the interpreter's help, we worked through her fears, established an action plan that allowed the case and her husband to stay home, and connected her daughter with medcal professionals to evaluate her circumstances and need for urgent intervention. The case and I agreed those needs superseded the interview as she was both aware and isolated, and we agreed to speak the following day. On callback, her emotions had completely turned around in that day, her daughter had been evaluated over the phone, acquired the information and guidance she needed, and the case believed her child and grandchildren were now safe and well. Throughout the roughly 90-minute translated interview, she repeatedly expressed her gratitude for our having called and helped her family and information and guidance. Despite the number of times our patients/cases have expressed anger, outrage, suspicion, or worse at our medical investigation and contact tracing efforts, this series of calls made them worthwhile.

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This item was submitted on March 24, 2021 by James Rayroux using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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