Heroes on the front line: Dy-Juan DeRoza
While most of us are safe at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, essential workers put their lives at risk to keep Bermuda going. The Royal Gazette continues its series in saluting these selfless men and women in hospitals, supermarkets, delivery vans, gas stations and other key services
An expert in the spread of diseases pitched in to help the Ministry of Health contain Covid-19 on the island after it hit in March.
Dy-Juan DeRoza, 42, said that her role as an epidemiologist was kicked into high gear as the country braced itself for the onslaught of the disease.
She added that, although every healthcare worker had a tough job, helping to ensure public safety was a huge reward.
Ms DeRoza said: “We, in public health, are doing all we can to minimise the impact of Covid-19 in Bermuda and we do it out of love and dedication.”
Ms DeRoza added that every death that had resulted from Covid-19 had stayed with her.
She explained: “The hardest day on the job since the Covid-19 situation, and probably ever, was when we were notified of the first Covid-19 related deaths and any day that we are notified of a Covid-19 related death.
“We recognise that with most pandemics, there will be deaths, but every death hurts.”
Ms DeRoza, from Southampton, said her job before the outbreak focused on monitoring the health of the population and giving guidance on public health surveillance.
She added that her job had been busy before, but her responsibilities had increased by a massive amount since the pandemic reached Bermuda.
Ms DeRoza said: “My role is multifaceted — I am the lead for health data, analytics and modelling, but I am also involved in surveillance and communications. Every day is different, but there is a greater sense of urgency to the tasks in a public health emergency.”
Ms DeRoza explained she analysed and mapped the presence of Covid-19, helped manage cases of the disease and made sure that policies and guidelines were in line with public health regulations. She added that, as a member of the communications team, she also made sure that statistics were accurate and that she worked with health organisations such as the Pan-American Health Organisation and Public Health England.
Ms DeRoza said that she was supported by three colleagues who helped ease the pressure of the job. She added: “The best part out of all of this is being part of a team of dedicated public health professionals. We work very well together — both in our respective roles and also collaboratively — so that we can best serve the public.”
Ms DeRoza admitted that one of the hardest parts of her job was dealing with uncertainty that surrounded the pandemic.
She said: “New information about the virus and its potential impact is constantly being updated and many lines of research are ongoing. “I just know that I have to make evidence-based recommendations while doing my work with integrity and maintaining personal and professional ethics.”
Ms DeRoza asked the public to trust the health professionals whose job it was to look out for them in an uncertain environment.
Ms DeRoza added: “We are all in this together — we grieve with you and we succeed with you.”
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