Countless students and alumni from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re working in hospitals, pharmacies and assisted living facilities. GreaterLongIsland.com is helping SJC tell their stories.

This week we’re featuring Taylor Gonzalez, a SJC senior who works in the East Patchogue Walgreens’ pharmacy, in the Swan Commons shopping center.

She has the added stress of keeping herself healthy for her father and brother, who both have medical conditions. Scroll down to read.

by Valerie Esposito | SJC staff

It’s something Taylor Gonzalez does at the end of every shift at the pharmacy.

“I sanitize my work area. Then, I take my scrubs off before entering my car,” Gonzalez, an SJC Long Island student, told OnCampus. “I keep a disinfecting spray handy to disinfect — before I carry my germs into my car, and into the house. When I arrive at home, I leave my shoes outside to air out, and I immediately shower.”

The regimen is part of Gonzalez’s hyper-vigilant approach to life and work during the coronavirus pandemic. The senior child study major works four days a week in the pharmacy area of the Walgreens in East Patchogue, filling prescriptions — now busier than ever — being picked up by customers every 10 minutes.

“It is my job to make people feel better and my first priority is helping customers feel comfortable during this time,” said Gonzalez of East Patchogue. “I try to make my customers feel at ease the best way possible. Many people are nervous about the cleanliness of the pharmacy, but we have new cleaning products, and we only allow up to 10 customers in at a time.”

Walgreens employs social distancing guidelines with markers on the floor to position and place where people stand in line.

 “We also have plexiglass at the registers to limit the direct contact with customers,” Gonzalez said. “We are told to stay home if we are sick, and we feel very comfortable letting our managers know.”

Yet even with the extra precautions that the store is taking, being so close to the frontline of this pandemic takes its toll on Gonzalez. 

“My pharmacy manager does a great job making us feel safe and important, but I worry about running out of protective equipment to protect ourselves and our customers,” she said. “I also worry about my brother who has asthma and my father who has an immune deficiency and kidney disease.” 

Click here for more from St. Joseph’s College.