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A Father Serves and Protects During COVID-19

Published in Inside CentraCare, For the Health of It Author: CentraCare

For months, CentraCare health care workers have been serving our community caring for critically ill patients during COVID-19. This sometimes means putting a patient’s needs before their own – sacrificing to help others.

Bertil Lindquist is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at CentraCare – he’s also a father. And when he was called to work on the COVID-19 unit at CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital, he had to make some difficult decisions.

“My wife and I are taking it seriously and doing everything we can to keep our girls safe,” Lindquist said. “About two weeks before my first rotation in the COVID-19 unit, our Incident Command team sent out housing information about the Gorecki Guest House. It was a relief to know we had this option as we tried to plan how we were going to keep our two girls safe.”

The Gorecki Guest House is open for health care workers on the COVID-19 unit who would like to isolate themselves from others. Lindquist has two young girls, Tenley (almost 3) and Mila (10 months), and he was willing to spend some time away from home to limit any exposure to the virus.

“While I was away, our youngest began crawling all over, so I missed the first few days of that,” Lindquist said. “She is also teething and awake most nights. I couldn’t be there to help my wife – who is also in graduate school.”

While Lindquist was only at the Gorecki Guest House for a week, many health care workers around the country are in similar positions. A balancing act – serving sick patients and protecting loved ones at home.

“When I’m not working directly with COVID-19 patients, I still take precautions to keep my family safe,” Lindquist said. “I leave my work clothes in the garage and shower first thing when I get home. We limit our trips to the store and use pick-up or grocery delivery.”

Extra precautions for peace of mind. And if Lindquist gets called back to the COVID-19 unit, he said he’ll opt to stay at the Gorecki Guest House again.

“Working on the COVID-19 unit was a great experience,” Lindquist said. “I was so impressed with the staffing and how there was always someone available to help out. It made being surrounded by the virus less challenging. I was humbled by the staff who are up there day in and day out, week after week.”

Lindquist is thankful to be back at home with his wife and kids this Father’s Day. He plans to have a picnic outside and play in their inflatable pool while soaking up our Minnesota summer.

“My favorite part of being a dad is that I get to be a kid again,” Lindquist said. “Seeing Tenley’s imagination run wild is just a blast. Coming home to a big hug and reception is pretty great too.”

As for his colleagues still working on the COVID-19 unit, Lindquist has immense gratitude for the sacrifices they are making for the health of our community.

“I think they are amazing,” Lindquist said. “All of a sudden their job became so much more. When they leave work, I imagine it hits home and weighs on each person in different ways. We are all in this together and I am grateful for the unimaginably difficult work that everyone is doing during this time.”