Detroit medical professionals with pre-existing conditions share new norms

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Angela McCullum, a laboratory assistant in the microbiology lab at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, said over the phone her lupus, an autoimmune disease that attacks normal tissue, led to a kidney transplant; these conditions make her especially cautious and prone to contracting COVID-19, according to the CDC.

 Angela McCullum healthcare worker at Detroit Receiving Hospital. Image provided by Angela McCullum.

McCullum suggests those who have pre-existing health conditions follow guidelines on social distancing, keep one’s hands clean, stay inside, and disinfect everything using Clorox. 

LaTyzha Mills, an employee of Visiting Angels, a home care provider in Detroit, said she only leaves her home for essential runs, taking with her a mask and gloves.

Though her job provided compensation for her time off, she does not understand why she cannot return to work until after April 30.

Mills in a text said: “I am currently on leave due to me having a higher chance of catching the COVID-19 virus, and I didn’t want to risk giving it to my clients. … I informed my job of my health issues and didn’t even provide a mask or gloves for me to wear around my client.”

Mills said she advises others with chronic health conditions to be proactive.

“I advise others to put themselves first,” said Mills. “Take precaution, don’t be afraid to request leave because our health comes first.” 

Charlotte Bachelor, a Wayne County resident with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a condition that restricts blood flow when standing up, said in practicing social distancing she hasn’t left the house: “I actually see my therapist via TeleHealth appointments now. I’m constantly washing my hands and staying away from non-immediate members of my family.”

Wayne County resident, Charlotte Bachelor. Video was taken by Charlotte Bachelor.

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