Member Story – Jennedier Martinez
“Education is a key component to keeping safe,”
At a time when all Californians are struggling to stop the coronavirus from spreading, some of our Local 1000-represented health care professionals face the additional challenge of protecting themselves and their patients from COVID-19.
Jennedier Martinez is a medical assistant at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton. CHCF provides medical care and mental health treatment for inmates with the most severe and long term needs. She works in the specialty clinic, preparing patients for a visit with a healthcare provider.
Due to the pandemic, her job has changed for the short term. “We’ve shut down the specialty clinics for all but the most urgent cases,” Jennedier says. “Because of the closure, we’re not doing our essential work, but we’re identified as essential employees.”
Jennedier believes there’s a safer way. “If there’s a reduced workload, if a full staff isn’t necessary, why not grant some administrative time off and reduce possible exposure?”
As with many areas of state service, the coronavirus-fueled uncertainty manifests itself with an ever-changing set of directives from management. “It seems like a lot of managers are in the dark, and seeking answers just like the rank and file,” Martinez said.
To her credit, Jennedier and her colleagues have taken independent action to protect themselves, forming a COVID-19 strike team that can respond immediately when an inmate tests positive.
“Education is a key component to keeping safe,” says Jennedier. “My medical training instilled good habits in me. But we need to keep informing people how to avoid risks through a few simple actions.”