Maryland Department of Health
“Covid does not recognize age, race, gender, politics, religion – anything. Some people might be more susceptible because they are older or have underlying health conditions, but it can affect and ultimately take anyone.” ~ Adam Rothenberg
Adam Rothenberg, 45, contracted COVID-19 in April and recovered at home, along with his wife who also had a mild case of the virus with flu-like symptoms.
But Adam, a health care worker in a local skilled nursing facility, has witnessed firsthand the absolute devastation of the pandemic on its residents and staff. They are among thousands across Maryland on the front lines of COVID-19, and it has taken a tragic toll.
“At the beginning, in April and May, we were losing up to two or three people a week. Sometimes they would be sent to the hospital and never come back,” Adam said. “Other times, they were in their rooms when they passed. We have been shut down for visitation since March.”
Adam added: “Since spring, I have witnessed many residents and staff test positive, and many residents have died. There are no visitors in the facility, and group activities and communal dining cannot take place. There is depression, sadness, and isolation.”
The health situation improved over the summer as outbreaks were successfully managed, and has continued to be stable even with the winter surge in cases. Adam credits the ongoing restrictions, routine testing of staff and residents, and quarantine procedures which have been put in place since the summer.
However, he is “infuriated” by people who believe that only the elderly or frail people can succumb to Covid-19. “People who don’t take it seriously are wrong. I have seen people with very bad health conditions survive, and others who had very good health not make it,” Adam said.
Despite his support of Maryland’s measures and his own facility rules, he urges people to reach out, by phone or video chat, to ease the loneliness of loved ones in a nursing facility.
“Be understanding of what they have gone through for so long now,” Adam said. “They are isolated. Some are not sure what is going on, and most of them are scared. Let them know they are not forgotten.”
He becomes very somber. “To anyone who thinks this pandemic is a joke, or a hoax: You haven’t seen it firsthand. I implore everyone to please wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your social distance. Covid is very real, very contagious, and very deadly.”