Deborah Haas (left) and her daughter Madeleine Stander, who works in an urgent care facility that tests people for COVID-19.

by Sue Ann Rybak

While many young people continue to party and ignore warnings to social distance, Mt. Airy resident Deborah Haas, 58, worries about her 24-year-old daughter, Madeleine Stander, who works in an urgent care facility that tests people for COVID-19.

The Surgeon General Jerome Adams even asked Kylie Jenner [the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star] to tell her Instagram followers to practice social-distancing and self-quarantine to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Hass pointed out.

A report this month by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that as of March 16, 20 percent of the people hospitalized in the United States for COVID-19 were between the ages of 20 and 44.

“Young people by nature want to be out with their friends and socializing,” said Haas. “Our children… can’t do that now. They need to go home and be careful to limit their contact with others. I told Maddie that the most socially generous act that she can make is to be alone when she comes home. This is new territory for all of us.”

“As a mother, it is frightening to have a daughter who is testing people for COVID-19,” she said. “Not everyone can get this test as it’s in short supply. If people do get the test, their symptoms warrant it.”

Haas said Stander was always interested in medicine. As an elementary student at Project Learn, at 6525 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy, she loved learning about scarlet fever and yellow fever.

It was this fascination and passion for medicine that led her to earn a Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging from Bloomsburg University.

Haas said her daughter “rarely gets sick.”

“I don’t remember the last time she’s had a cold,” she said. “She’s used to giving flu tests and being in contact with sick people.”

So, when Stander woke up with a few of the virus symptoms after taking a few days off, Haas said her “heart sunk.”

“Maddie woke up with a sore throat, a slight fever and body aches several days ago after giving 10 people COVID-19 testing the day before,” Haas said. “I knew these weren’t coronavirus symptoms, but I could barely sleep that night.

“When we spoke the next morning, she said she only had a slight sore throat and otherwise felt better. I felt my shoulders getting lighter. Sometimes, I don’t think she understands the seriousness of what she is up against.”

Haas said while she knows there are “health protocol and standards” in place to protect  medical professionals, the current shortage of professional protection equipment such as proper masks and gowns puts healthcare workers lives at risk. She said in a text Sunday night that Stander’s COVID-19 test results came back negative, which made her “happy as a mama can be!”

Like most medical professionals, Stander works 12-hour shifts sometimes more. Recently, Haas said Stander worked 12-hour shift at the urgent care, had a three-hour break and then worked 16 hours straight at Temple University Hospital Emergency doing medical imaging. Haas worries about the emotional and physical affect COVID-19 is having on healthcare professionals.

“It’s hard on all of us who have our family members out there doing healthcare on the front lines,” she said. “We can’t go and put our arms around them and tell them we’re there for them when physically we can’t touch them. None of us has faced a pandemic in our lifetime, and when someone is young and strong, how do parents teach them that this virus is new and as strong as they are?”