Sharay Souza is an obstetrics nurse at Hilo Medical Center in Hawaii, and like many others in her field, her job has undergone many changes as a result of the coronavirus; but Souza;s job comes with an added form of anxiety: she’s delivering babies in the middle of a pandemic.
“There’s always some risk that comes with having a baby,” says Souza. “But with COVID-19, there are added concerns about safety, keeping the mother and baby healthy, and protecting everyone in the delivery room.”
Visitations are limited to one guest per delivering mother, she explains, and any existing children are not allowed into the delivery room. Social distancing on the job is not an option, and Souza worries about exposure to the virus and bringing it home to her three year old asthmatic son.
State workers in Hawaii are also facing proposed pay cuts due to a budgetary crisis, which brings with it renewed anxiety about making ends meet.
“I am the only means of financial support for my child and myself. My financial responsibility has not changed since the pandemic,” says Souza. “I continue to pay for child care regardless of my child not going. I still have student loans. I have to pay rent and all my utilities. It’s worrisome and the feeling of uneasiness does not settle well.”
Read more about Sharay Souza and her work and the challenges of being an obstetrics nurse during the pandemic here.