Local Hospitals Thank Environmental Services Department: Front-line Workers Against COVID-19

Local Hospitals Thank Environmental Services Department: Front-line Workers Against COVID-19

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - As doctors and nurses across the South Plains continue to battle in the fight against COVID-19, there is a small subset of those first-responders who often don’t receive much recognition.

But, administration at both Covenant and UMC are hopeful that once this is all over, the public will remember these men and women who put their lives on the line on a daily basis.

“We cover everything from the front entrance the lobby areas, uh, we clean the ER’s we clean the patient rooms. We clean the OR’s, we take out the trash, handle the bio hazard waste," says Kelly Flippen, Environmental Service Director at Covenant.

A similar process to what is done at UMC. “Making sure that from our public area, to patient restrooms get sanitized, disinfected. Our employees are our first line of defense when it comes to making sure we mitigate any infection after the patient leaves any areas," says Paulo Maldonado, UMC’s Assistant Director of Environmental Services.

However, Flippen says in the past it was not uncommon for the public to overlook the value the jobs of those EVS team members, “It’s no big secret that housekeepers are considered lowest on the pole.”

But, Flippen and Kelly McDaniel, Vice President of Support Services at Covenant, say they hope that is changing.

“Their job is to keep us all safe. And that’s always been their job, that’s not just a COVID-19 thing,” said McDaniel.

Meanwhile, Maldonado says his team is made up of some of the finest people he knows, “They feel pride in what they do, they’re very engaged in what they do.”

He says his team does its best to operate with something specific in mind when it comes to the patients they see and the areas they clean, “What if this was a loved one, what if this was a granddaughter, what if this was a daughter, or a son?”

When it comes to educating the public about the importance of both EVS teams, Flippen and Maldanado hope residents remember something specific.

“They are very passionate about what they do,” said Flippen.

“They are extremely brave,” said Maldanado.

In fact, McDaniel says if it weren’t for these brave men and women on the front lines, one thing would be certain, “If that department were not here, the issues that we would be dealing with today would be much, much, much worse than they are.”

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