Risky Balancing Act: Keeping Her Patients Healthy and Family Safe

Dantez Simpson, Contributing Writer

Donnita Reynolds is a nurse at the Fulton County Health Department in downtown Atlanta. Facing this global pandemic, Reynolds has been deemed as an essential worker and has faced many hardships because of this. 

Reynolds fears that she runs the risk of contracting the coronavirus because it is hard to practice social distancing, particularly in her line of work. She works in the Sexually Transmitted Disease testing department and due to Atlanta being one of the nation’s hotbeds for HIV/AIDS, new patients are coming in everyday for help. 

“I hate having to think about bringing something home with me,” Reynolds said. “I live with my 65-year-old mother and a 5-year-old daughter. I can’t imagine something happening to them because of me.” 

Because of this, she takes heavy precautions when returning home from work. 

“I try my best not to touch anything,” Reynolds said. “I take off all my clothes in the laundry room and jump straight in the shower.”

Another obstacle she faces while in the midst of the pandemic is the lack of daycare for her daughter. Reynolds’ mother takes care of her during the day but the energy of a  5-year-old can be a lot to handle for anyone, let alone a grandmother. 

A daycare center is provided for employees at her job but she is reluctant to put her child in such close proximity with children of other medical workers because she can’t trust that all of her co-workers take the same precautions as she does.

With new patients circulating daily she feels as if it is her responsibility to keep her family safe and out of harm’s way.

Reynolds’ 19-year-old daughter, Kimiko Williams, shares her mother’s concern and takes the liberties of cleaning and disinfecting as much of the house as possible. 

“My mother’s job is to provide for this household financially, so I feel like it’s only right to do my part and try and keep everything in shape,” Williams said.

Reynolds says she loves being able to help people in need but she loves her family as well.  Every time she commutes to work their safety is the No. 1 thing on her mind.

“Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed to be employed in a time like this,” Reynolds said. “But I understand that I am responsible for more than just myself and I am aware of the risks that come with my field of work.”