Navigating a pandemic is nothing new for Carmen De Leon, a respiratory therapist at both Harlem Hospital and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in NYC. Carmen has looked after patients during SARS, H1N1, and Ebola, but admits that the coronavirus pandemic is unique.

“Across the city, everyone I spoke to working in hospitals and medical facilities was in need of more PPE. We saw doctors having to make tough decisions because we had limited resources. As more workers got sick, we also scrambled to cover all patient rooms.”

Carmen herself was diagnosed positive with COVID-19 and faced a grueling path to recovery, an experience which brought into focus how important congressional support is for state and municipal healthcare workers.

“Public service workers are always essential workers, but especially now, having enough health care workers like myself on staff is crucial to fighting this pandemic.” Federal aid for state workers, she says, will “ensure that these critical public services like health care, EMS and home care continue.”

Read more about Carmen and how congressional funding will support healthcare workers like her here.