COVID-19 Impact on An Essential Worker That Keeps Hope Despite Loss ~ Mail Carrier

A Community story with Katina Hill of Centennial, Colorado

Katina Hill is a 47-year old African American female and mother of seven children.  She is married, lives in Centennial, Colorado and has four minor children still living at home.

She has been a resident of Colorado for thirty-two years and she agreed to be interviewed by Janelle Johnson and share her story.


Prior to COVID-19 awareness what did you enjoy about your job?  “The freedom of working independently.”

Tell me more?  “I work outside on my own.  Nobody is looking over my shoulder.  I am calling this independence.  Additionally, my job is great exercise.”

Do you think the physical activity has influenced your mental health?  “Yes.  I have more energy.”

How many hours per week did you work since March 2020?  “About fifty hours per week.”

Were some months heavier than others?  “I noticed packages increased with the stimulus distribution.”

What were your weekly hours prior to March 2020? “Approximately sixty hours per week.”

It appears although working an overtime schedule before and after Covid-19 awareness; your hours have reduced.  Tell me more about that?  “When companies are on furlough there are less ads in the mail and reduced bulk mail.”

Did this give you a relief with a reduction in weekly hours at work?  “Slightly yes.  The paper mail decreased, creating less paper to sort through.  However, the packages increased.”

Walk me through your day.  “I wake up, get dressed, walk the dogs, and head to work.  I sort the mail, put it together, and usually deliver my route.  At times, I work a couple of hours on someone else’s route and I go home.  I do daily overtime.”

What have you learned over the past five months about yourself since COVID-19 stay at home orders and restrictions?  “A lot has happened this year.  As I get older, I enjoy working independently as a self-starter, and leader.  I am ready to create change and continue making a difference in the world for me and my family.”

How has COVID-19 impacted your physical health?  “I feel the same physically, and my weight is stable.  I have double downed on making sure my immune system is where it should be.  I am at risk daily with the different people I encounter, and their handling of the mail.”

How has your family been impacted?  “I had four significant death losses due to COVID-19.  I had four family members that were infected with COVID-19 and survived.”

What has grief looked like for your family?  “I had so many people die in a short period of time.  I am almost numb to it.”

Do you feel you are in denial?  “I think death is inevitable.  I think I am moving to acceptance.  There is nothing I can do.  I use my spirituality.”

What is your understanding of COVID-19’s racial and ethnic disparities?  “It is not the virus itself but our elevated health risks as African Americans.  In this country there is a lack of quality food consumed in our communities, and proper implementation of medical treatment of African Americans in the US.  We are less likely to go to the doctor.”

Why do you think African Americans do not go to the doctor?  “African Americans are not as likely to trust doctors they do not believe understand them. When we are given Western medicine treatment, we still die more often than our white counterparts.”

What are your feelings about COVID-19’s racial and ethnic disparities?  “I feel we need to educate our own community first and realize mainstream news, media, and the overall medical field is not designed for Africans.”

Are you staying connected to friends, family, and staying social with people you desire?  “Yes.  More so online now.”

What are you doing?  “Zoom calls.”

How frequent?  “Once a week, and texting daily.”

What makes you keep hope that there will be a vaccine, or treatment for COVID-19?  “I think it is too soon to expect a vaccine because of the trial period.  I like to hear about trials that run for at least two years.”

How has your mental health been impacted by COVID-19?  “It is giving me more mental acuity.  It has made me more appreciative for the love of my family.  Grateful for the ability to provide for them.  I have acquired more knowledge and future wealth for my family.”

Tell me more?  “I’ve had relatives bury family members due to death by COVID-19 who had no residual income, nor insurance policies.”

How do you manage a healthy lifestyle despite distressing times, and loss?  “I cook homemade meals.  I eat organic.  I have noticed the organic food stores have fewer people and this brings less exposure to the virus.”

What has given you hope during this time of racial disparities, inequities, and community health risks?  “The motherland is not reporting the same COVID-19 health disparities, or medical concerns.  I use their diet example.  Foods that decrease inflammation with ginger, turmeric, garlic, and onion.   I garden to stay empowered.”

How have your spiritual beliefs kept you positive during this critical time of stay at home orders with COVID-19?  “With my family I check in and stay connected.  We respect the individual health needs of family each member.  I focus on appreciating what God has given me.”

Thank you for sharing your story as an essential worker and bringing HOPE during the COVID-19 Pandemic!


By Janelle Johnson, MA, LPC, NCC

© 2015 Colorado Black Health Collaborative
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