COVID Chronicles: A view inside of the COVID Clinic phone calls

Brandee’s COVID Chronicles interview is from May 14, 2020.

Welcome to the COVID Chronicles. These are the behind the scenes stories from Kittitas Valley Healthcare staff at various points in time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a normal day Brandee Coates, Care and Service Coordinator, can be found in the Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) Quality office responding to patient complaints, staff reporting or following up on patient falls. However, for the first seven weeks of the KVH Coronavirus Clinic being open, she only spent one day at her own desk.

The Coronavirus clinic has received more than 2,000 phone calls since it opened on March 7, where staff have talked to patients about symptoms, precautions and social distancing. Brandee has been on the phone with concerned patients for countless hours. “I’ve spent a lot of time just giving them reassurance. They want to know if they’re doing the right thing, ‘am I being cautious enough?’” she said.

What Brandee didn’t expect, was how emotional people would be when she called with their negative results. “People are so scared, especially the high risk patients,” Brandee said.

She had to take some extra time off to recharge, after so many phone calls to patients with their results. The patients would cry because “They’re so relieved to hear they don’t have this potentially life threatening illness, like I told them they aren’t going to die, or get their loved ones sick,” and she would cry with them. This has been a much more emotional process than Brandee expected, yet rewarding at the same time.

She’s also been grateful for the support from local businesses. “There have been so many community members feeding the clinic staff when we know they’re having a hard time keeping their doors opened,” Brandee explained. “We live in such a caring community.”

Brandee is excited to rebook her family’s spring break trip to California with her best friend, when things return to semi-normal life. It’s been tough to work full time and help homeschool her two children but as she told them, “This is hard for everyone, no one wanted this.” But we can do it.