Renee Robinson of Garfield reached out to PublicSource Community Correspondent Jourdan Hicks recently to discuss her experience with COVID and her concerns for moving forward with work and her child’s school in the new normal.

So my name is Renee Robinson. I’m 37 years old, and I live in the Garfield neighborhood. I was prompted to reach out to PublicSource because I was feeling very frustrated about trying to find a COVID test. 

Returning back into the workplace this summer, I was very anxious about, like, if I came into contact with someone because when I had symptoms before they were very mild symptoms that I had. It’s very frustrating to get tested for COVID, you would have to wait, and then you’d have to call from work and then you weren’t sure if you did have COVID, were you infecting people that you were getting near? I’m a mother of a 4-year-old, and I was very concerned about that. So I was just wondering if other people had a similar experience, and if they were nervous and trying to find tests and how difficult that would be. And then my other thought was, well, I can purchase a test at the pharmacy. But then I was thinking, well, what if there are people who couldn’t purchase a $20 test? And each time you were maybe exposed to someone, why would you have to go to the pharmacy? 

My first time when I got COVID, my symptoms were pretty mild. I was very tired; my back was hurting really bad so that’s actually what triggered me to go to the emergency room because I was in such bad pain. It was really packed the emergency room. I went to  St. Margaret’s in Aspinwall and there was only one doctor working. And it was actually a complete nightmare. It was a horrible situation. 

So I finally was able to get vaccinated. You know, I have a son who touches everything and I prayed he doesn’t put a lot of things in his mouth. But that’s how he’s learning, is by you know, using his senses. 

It does make me nervous about trying to figure out what is your sickness? Do you have a cold? Do you have the flu? Do you have COVID? And just in terms of us getting back to business, but I do get very nervous in terms of like, I got a letter from my child’s school about a student who had COVID but I didn’t read the letter at first, I just saw the subject and it made me super, super anxious because I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to take off for work. I wasn’t sure if my child was exposed. It’s just a very scary time and nervous time with a lot of information being thrown at us. 

I don’t know if we’re allowing people enough time to reflect and to understand all the decisions and finding the decisions that work for themselves and their family.

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Jourdan is a senior community correspondent at PublicSource. Previously, Jourdan was engaged as a community-based educator in the Hazelwood section of the city. A lifelong Pittsburgh resident, she’s...