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INDIANAPOLIS —Health care workers are not only helping people infected with COVID-19. They are, in many cases, isolating themselves from their families.

Health care workers and first responders have had their lives changed dramatically since the pandemic came to be.

One emergency room nurse from the Chicago area, Kristin Johanning, is now working in Indiana because two of her three children are particularly vulnerable. She hasn’t seen them or her husband in almost a week and expects that not to change anytime soon.

Johanning has been an emergency room nurse for about 12 years. She’s originally from Lake Zurich with extended family still in the Chicago area. She’s currently staying with a friend in Indianapolis. 

Most of the patients she’s helping to treat are dealing with COVID-19.

“We direct patients based on if they have COVID symptoms which is a lot,” she said. “Coughs, sore throat, headache nausea abdominal pain.”

Throughout her 12-hour shifts, she is always in full protective garb.

Johanning like so many health care workers and first responders are concerned about getting their loved ones in their lives sick which would be very bad.

Johanning’s son Michael, 8, and younger son 16-month-old Hunter have cystic fibrosis.

“…it’s a whole body disease most people realize that based on lung function and if they were to get COVID they would be hospitalized and being pretty critical condition,” she said.

Her husband Eric is between jobs and they FaceTime several times a day. Friends and family have been going to the grocery store for Eric and the kids to minimize contact and practice social distancing.

Johanning is prepared to go the long haul until the  COVID-19 pandemic ends.

She doesn’t know when that will be, but she is thankful for her family and all the people, including strangers, who have reached out to her and her colleagues.

“Amazing how many food deliveries we’ve had in the emergency department and I believe it’s happening all over the hospital as well,” she said.