A commitment to help others — it’s the one goal many essential workers have in common.
For Julia Takats ’20, that means continuing to work full-time during the coronavirus pandemic with patients at a substance abuse facility.
Takats is a senior at SJC Long Island majoring in psychology and preparing to graduate this May. She also spends six days a week at an outpatient treatment facility in Hauppauge, working with patients who struggle with substance abuse.
“Even though the influx of patients has decreased since the outbreak of COVID-19, the work to stay on track and keep on top of our clients has increased,” she said. “It has caused an immense amount of stress for us because we are still trying to find what works best for all of our patients, as well as all employees.”
With COVID-19 forcing businesses to change the way they operate, the substance abuse facility had no choice but to cancel all in-person meetings and appointments, including testing appointments, and now relies on Zoom for group therapy sessions.
“In terms of maintaining sobriety and accountability, we aren’t able to allow patients in for testing, so people could be relapsing without our knowledge,” Takats said. “Clients are reporting that they are abstinent, but we have no way of verifying right now.”
The Bohemia resident and graduate of Connetquot High School still physically attends work, even though patients are seen virtually. While at work, she wears gloves and a mask. When she returns home, she immediately showers and washes her clothes to avoid spreading any germs to her family members.
“People aren’t taking this as seriously as they should,” she said. “I still see people hanging out with friends and claiming they don’t have the virus, when in reality, weeks could go by before you become symptomatic. You could be spreading this threatening disease to people and their families without even knowing it.”
This story is part of OnCampus’ “Answering the Call” series, focusing on St. Joseph’s College students and alumni working outside their homes in essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.