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August 17

Blog post by Amanda Blevins, LCH Community Engagement and Outreach Manager

SAYING GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY

I remember the day that the trailer went on our property. I was on a Zoom call with the Southern Chester County Opportunity Network (SCCON) which is a group of nonprofit organizations from across southern Chester County. We were working to coordinate internet accessibility with the school districts so kids had access to learning, food distribution with the area food pantries, and where people could go for care for Covid. The nonprofit representatives were visibly overwhelmed with gratitude for the fact that they could now send members to LCH for testing and care. I remember the temporary testing area we used before the trailer arrived that we used to call the "tent village." I assisted with the “tent village” clean up a couple times and assisted teammates out of their yellow hazmat suits. I knew that in the more permanent testing facility that while they wouldn’t have to combat the heat in the same way, they were still putting themselves at significant risk and it was scary.

LCH's Outdoor Covid testing facilities

Through the course of the pandemic, the trailer was a looming representation of the fact that COVID separates us as humans. In the early days, so many of us couldn’t come to the office. I remember stories of our team missing holidays, vacations, weddings, and time with friends and family. I can distinctly remember seeing lines of people waiting for vaccinations outside of LCH because they were eligible and then an hour later, the line shifted to waiting for tests at the trailer for those who weren’t yet. There were family members who had to wait in their cars in the parking lot and not accompany loved ones to appointments. There were emails that staff members had to stay separate on their shifts. They could not come inside the building if they were assigned to the trailer as to not spread anything.

As someone who had spent all of her time welcoming people into LCH and telling people that everyone was welcome through our doors, the change in messaging to having to separate people and not allow some physically into our building, while necessary, was sad and difficult.

This morning as I pulled up to the building at Kennett, I held back a couple tears in recognition of the fact that the separation is gone. We’ve weathered a significant trauma, and we’re still realistically battling it. Covid is here and will be (as evidenced by the number of tests that I distributed today), but it’s not so starkly isolating anymore. It’s being weaved into everyday life. And that is progress that I am proud to be part of in a small way.