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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC graduates apply experience in New York to help COVID-19 patients in California

July 28, 2020

SJVC provides a career-focused curriculum for students throughout California, but the skills and knowledge they acquire can be applied anywhere in the world, including New York, the original epicenter of the U.S. novel coronavirus outbreak. Just recently, California overtook New York as the worst-hit state for cases, according to a Reuters tally of county data[i]. That is why the experience our medical professionals receive in New York is vital to keeping our California communities safe.


Take two SJVC graduates who were featured in The Bakersfield Californian, Marisela Gonzales and Natalie Palomar, as an example. Natalie, who has six years of experience as a respiratory therapist, and Marisela, who just graduated SJVC in August 2019, traveled to New York to work at the Jacobi Medical Center, a 450-bed hospital in the Bronx. They arrived at the midpoint of New York’s hospital surge and spent seven weeks assisting with the overflow of patients. At one point, they recalled the hospital having only one ventilator left and was so overrun with patients the staff struggled to help all of them.


“There were times when it was like, which one are we going to save?'” Natalie said. Yet she is thankful for the experience and knowledge she gained in New York. And so are the communities they now serve back in California.


Both graduates returned to Bakersfield just as Kern County’s case counts and hospitalizations grew. In the past week, local hospitals reached a tipping point as they filled to capacity and are now seeking hundreds more healthcare workers to open up more beds.


The situation in Kern County is starting to feel similar to New York. While many in the community brace for hard times ahead, it’s a breath of fresh air for the rest of us knowing that our healthcare heroes are working around the clock to not only help others, but learn from their experience across the country so that we may be better prepared here in California.


We are proud of all our graduates who are taking their skills and knowledge from SJVC and applying it to their community and cities around the country. We want to thank them for their service and dedication to helping others and save lives.


For more information on their journey, please see the full article in The Bakersfield Californian:


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