Sanica Coleman, 41

A nurse from North Carolina said she is under overwhelming stress even though her county hasn’t reached 100 confirmed cases yet.

The state has been under stay-at-home orders for nearly two weeks. Sanica Coleman, who works at the Zimmer Cancer Center in New Hanover County, said officials have done a good job so far in minimizing the community spread.

“They locked the state down once we had the first few confirmed deaths came up,” she said.

Even though there’s not a heavy amount of cases in her county, the threat hangs heavy.

“I try to avoid going anywhere besides home and work,” she said. “When my family goes anywhere, I make sure they sanitize as much as possible.”

She worries any exposure she or her family get could endanger her patients.

“These are people who are all immunocompromised, they’re already weakened from chemotherapy,” said Coleman.

Her hospital, while not limited on gowns and masks, has taken precautionary measures and limited usage to prevent a shortage in the event their situation gets worse.

Any patients coming into the hospital are screened for symptoms. The hospital has also set up tents outside to isolate suspected cases.

While the state’s total cases are low, testing still needs to improve.

“One patient we had, we knew they had it but the lab already had over 2,000 high priority tests so we had to wait on that for proper isolation protocols,” she said.

Coleman believes that there’s no way to have any kind of realistic timeline until drastic improvements to testing happen.

She also reiterated the importance of social distancing.

“I can’t stress enough that these measures prevent you from potentially infecting others and help every hospital from being overloaded,” she said.

Like many of her colleagues, Coleman has had to rotate between her regular work, administrative work and screening patients. Then there’s life outside of her job.

“My kids are stuck at home and I hate having to tell them ‘no’ when they want to hang out with friends,” she said.

However, the mother of four has found ways to help her kids with their education by having mini class sessions at home. It’s given her an opportunity to help keep their education progressing in a difficult time.

She was also proud to see how her community has responded to the lockdown.

“I’m happy to see people trying to help kids get the computers they need and provide meals for families that need it,” she said.

Matthew Garcia is a journalism student with a strong passion for social issues, sports and politics. Garcia hopes to bring attention to important national and local issues.