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Tag along with Hurley Medical Center cleaning crew keeping the hospital safe

We all know what it means to be a front-line worker at a hospital; but, there's a team that operates behind the scenes, helping keep germs out as coronavirus cases come in.
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 6:16 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/9/2020) - “Each room, you have to have clean PPE to go in here. You don’t want to take this bacteria from this room into the next room,” Environmental Services Technician, Ebony Releford explained.

Taking a look at the work the whole team does to keep Hurley Medical Center safe, we didn’t make Releford suit up for us. But, she explained typically she’d be covered head-to-toe in personal protection equipment while cleaning a patient’s room.

She's in charge of executing the detail-oriented 7-step cleaning routine.

“The main important description of my job is making sure that we keep everything clean, sterilized, keep bacteria down,” she said.

It's a job needed year-round at the hospital, but their services have been deemed even more essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The staff is also some of the only people patients get to interact with while fighting the virus.

“There’s no visitors here,” Releford explained. “So therefore, when we enter a room it is nice to, you know, start a friendly conversation, you know, make them feel comfortable, show them compassion, give them encouraging words.”

Once a patient is discharged, the 7-step routine happens again. And then, Steven Garty comes in with the LightStrike, a germ-killing robot.

“What that does is it gives the room’s highest surface touch areas an extra disinfectant on top of - on top of what all of our housekeepers did,” Garty shared.

Garty's been picking up extra shifts and working longer hours to make sure the job gets done.

Seeing the number of COVID-19 cases rising again, he feels prepared to deal with it now that he's created a good routine.

Garty and Releford admit they were nervous at the beginning because of the unknowns. They're still taking extra precautions to keep their families safe when they return home after each shift.

“It was scary, but at the same time it’s like the job has to get done. I won’t back out now,” Releford said. “Because what if it’s your loved one there.”

That passion drives this crew on the tougher days. Garty lost three good friends who were coworkers to COVID-19. That's why the two say it takes a toll on them when they see people aren't wearing a mask or social distancing.

“Everybody just has to stay on their game, stay on their toes, keep cleaning, keep, you know, doing what you’re doing in order for it to level off; because it is scary, it can be,” Garty added.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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