‘I’m not the same’: Santa Rosa hospital cleaner’s life turned upside-down during pandemic

March 30th, 2021

When Carmen Amavisca, a housekeeper at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, received her first Covid-19 vaccine shot in December, she thought she was finally safe. After a year of conflict with the hospital and its parent company, Providence St. Joseph Health, over inadequate PPE, safety protocols, and staffing, she could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

But then Carmen received heartbreaking news: She had actually contracted COVID a few days before her first shot. And she wasn’t alone. Many of her coworkers also contracted COVID-19 last year.

“At first it was just one or two who got sick,” Amavisca said. “Then it was like half the department got sick. And once they got better and returned to work, it was the other half.” … Cleaning staff at Memorial is “about 97% Mexican,” Amavisca said with a laugh, and overwhelmingly female, another way these subsets of the population have borne a disproportionate burden during the health crisis.”

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Photo by Kent Porter/The Press Democrat