The pandemic and I. (5) Learning one of your colleagues tested positive

Report – Monday 23 March

We learned this weekend that one of our colleagues from the elderly medical retirement home we work at has tested positive for Covid-19. As care workers from the same team, how does this make us feel?

Shocked and sad – for our colleague, a close team member; Worried/stressed – that others may be infected, staff, residents (impossible to know when testing is not made available until someone shows symptoms); Weary – we lose another staff member when we are already suffering losses due to other reasons, and staff having to reorganise work for family commitments. Example, the morning shift yesterday we were only one staff short, but on the evening shift we were three short; Realising we are vulnerable – some of us have a sense of ‘invincibility’ as we are under excellent and strict control measures and protocols at work. Learning one of the ‘troops’ has gone down definitely puts a chink in the collective armour; Relieved – no one else has reported symptoms as yet, and all residents are in good health; Determined and/or resigned – to work on under the most difficult and evolving circumstances.

Our latest protocols:

  • Isolation procedures put into immediate effect for all residents. No one leaves their rooms at any time now. This ensures zero contact between the residents themselves. Quite distressing for some as they feel a prisoner in their own room. For others they are very happy – never having to leave their room, room service, TV all day.
  • All personnel now have to wear masks when previously only if you had a cough, cold or had not been vaccinated against seasonal flu. The reason was a) no one was Covid-19 positive at the time, and b) we didn’t have enough masks. This shortage of masks is not something exclusive to us, or even France, but a worldwide issue. Our management has now requisitioned enough masks for all personnel (Maybe they had been stockpiling ready for our first case?).
  • Continuation of twice-daily temperature taking for personnel.
  • Continuation of no visitors except medical personnel. This policy has been waived on two occasions to allow relatives (under controlled measures) to see a family member who is receiving end-of-life care and is not expected to live beyond 48 hours.
  • A former visitor’s lounge has been cleared and transformed into a stock room full of boxes standing floor to ceiling containing medical equipment, hand sanitisers, toilet roll, cleaning products.

Upbeat, somehow, you have to be!

We’re hoping there are no more cases for staff, and that we can keep our extremely vulnerable residents safe. In the absence of any quick, easy and sound means to test staff daily, it’s impossible to know who of us might bring the virus in. The onus is of course on us not to bring the infection into the home of the residents, and we can only do this by following strict protocols both inside the units and in our own homes, and by limiting our exposure to outside.

TVTA morale is upbeat!

Gonna wash my hands and wash my hair! Plus, free cute kitten!!!

UK. Film Review. 1979.

From kittens and nice hair to…

… distraction TV blood, guts and zombies!

Thank you The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead season 2. Image courtesy of AMC.

For me personally, one of my coping mechanisms to ‘decompress’ is catching up on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of The Walking Dead which I never watched. I watched season 1 when it first came out, then didn’t pick it back up until season 5. (must be a time travelling thing for TVTA, and I’m totally enjoying seeing the pre-evolution of certain characters and storylines). Thanks to Netflix very responsibly streaming in low-definition during these troubled times to help free up internet speeds, I can finally see these three seasons I missed.

TVTA escapism? Avoiding reality? Mr Editor, is it wise for you to watch a TV show set in a violent and death-filled post-apocalyptic world?

Hell yeah! Fiction is good for the soul. And just imagine how much more we’d feel fkd up with zombies trying to eat our faces!! 🙂

By contrast, I could also look at more kitten images, and drink tea. Or both!

Hello Kitty tea set.

Stay well and healthy everyone. Thank you for your messages of encouragement and support. Together we can get through this!


  1. Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, care takers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
  2. Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  3. Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
  4. Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
  5. Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
  6. Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  7. Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  8. After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  9. Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  10. Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water.

Information: WHO

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.

Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages