Martin Navarro is back at work — but he’s not sure for how long. A respiratory therapist and sleep technician in Wasco, Calif., near Bakersfield, he works in a sleep lab that reopened this month after closing in March.
He’s worried the jump in coronavirus cases will force facilities not offering acute care to close again, with doctors diverted to emergency treatment. “I definitely am concerned,” he said.
After he was laid off, it took two and a half months for Mr. Navarro to start receiving unemployment benefits from the state. “There was no one to talk to,” he said. “They took questions by email, and it took 10 to 20 days for them to respond.”
During that time, Mr. Navarro and his wife, Kiki, who is also unemployed, had to skip mortgage, car and insurance payments. “It was tough,” he said.
He is happy to be back at the lab, where he works from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. and monitors patients for indicators like oxygen level as they sleep. He earns $18 an hour. “I really enjoy it,” he said. “I’m scheduled to work over the next three weeks, but tomorrow could be my last day.”