COVID-19 Experiences

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread change to each of us. The OPTA would like to know how you have personally been affected
and how you’re adapting to meet the needs of your patients. 

Want to share your insights and experiences?  Please send a brief paragraph to [email protected]

We want to hear from you!   Please take this three question survey to help us better serve YOU!

APTA-OR and COVID-19 Survey 


My name is Ashley Berry and I am the OPTA treasurer. It is now the end of April 2020 and well over a month since we started the COVID-19 action plans. 2020 will be a year to remember (to say the least). I would like to reflect on the positives rather than the negatives as the media can pull us toward negativity and fear. I have been extremely grateful and impressed with all of my colleagues in the OPTA and at work. The OPTA BOD has coordinated last minute zoom meetings to manage and delegate tasks with amazing teamwork. Everyone is stepping up! Despite cancelling our Annual Conference, we have put together an awesome line-up with dedicated speakers in order to give members the opportunity to get their CEs with our Resiliency CE Series (April 18 and May 16) in lieu of our licensing renewal extension. I have been fortunate to keep busy working in my practice settings. I work at Providence Willamette Falls Hospital Rehab and have an Infinity on-call position with Vibra LTAC. I am primarily an outpatient therapist, but have been flexing to cover acute care in our hospital. Our leaders are well engaged and every caregiver has adapted to take on roles outside of their typical work day with open minds. For example, PT/PTAs are taking on temperature check stations (including graveyard and swing shifts), PT/PTAs are helping cleaning services, and PTs, like myself, are taking on inpatient and weekend hours. Furthermore, I have been impressed with my patients’ responses to adjusting their therapy plans and being so understanding. I have patients concerned for my safety and reaching out to make sure I am doing ok and staying safe. I have patients concerned enough to ask if I have enough food supply, laundry detergent, and toilet paper! I really appreciate each and everyone around me in all settings. The support goes a long way. Stay positive and thank you!

My name is Christina Howard, and I am the president of the OPTA. Mid-March seems like a blur now. There were so many fast changes and what felt like hourly updates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, leadership canceled the Annual Conference, and I have never felt the duty of care more strongly than from the Board of Directors, and the Continuing Education Committee. Some of our colleagues have decided to temporarily close practices, and others are taking steps to deliver essential services in patients' best interests. Like many, I continuously reflect on the word essential and how its definition is influenced by employer, provider, patient, parent, and family roles and responsibilities.

At the 2017 APTA Education Leadership Conference, Geneva Johnson, PT, DPT, Ph.D., FAPTA, and 70+ career PT and education leader said, "Compassion, caring, and comfort is our culture." I'm privileged to have served as your president during this time. Thanks to the Board of Directors, OPTA leaders, staff, members, and my dear colleagues for embodying compassion, caring, and comfort through your leadership and resilience. We really are better together.

My name is Garrett Stroup and I am the Membership Chair for the OPTA. At a time of uncertainty, few people can financially commit to a new membership for the APTA and their local chapter. Due to this situation, I have found myself studying to stay abreast of new federal acts/waivers and insurance changes to healthcare on the APTA and OPTA website. I have been reaching out to the healthcare staff in my district with the help of the OPTA federal liaison, Mackenzie Van Loo, to portray how the healthcare our communities are affected by this virus. Within my outpatient hospital clinic, I have called patients with complex health conditions to remain home. My coworkers and I have also instilled a screening process, rearranged our clinic to maintain social distancing, and adapted new standards of sanitation. We have developed a team to initiate telehealth and e-visit services to ensure that our patients remain safe while receiving the care that they need. At the hospital, I am working with a team of nurses on-swing shifts to screen employees and patients prior to entering the hospital with the recommended PPE. Furthermore, several of my coworkers are working third-shift to complete the same activities. The changes I have witnessed, the work that has been completed, and the teams that have developed are enough to make anybody proud of an organization. These are a few of my experiences over the last month. What are yours?

My name is Derek Fenwick and I am the chair of the OPTA Nominating Committee. In my day job, I am the Director of Human Resources for a healthcare company serving senior living communities. Like for many of you, the last three weeks have been a completely new experience for me. I’m using my background as a physical therapist combined with my training in HR to help guide our company and our employees forward through this time. These days I’m a frequent visitor to, state-based COVID-19 websites, and legal newsletters about employment law. It’s a challenging space for essential health care personnel in senior living right now - on one hand, you’re working hard to deliver therapy to help individuals regain their independence, while on the other, you’re susceptible to getting news any day that the symptom-free patient you treated 5 days ago just made you the next HCP to have a high-risk exposure that sends you off to quarantine. All of this puts the work of identifying and developing leaders for our profession in a whole new light. People are being pulled in a dozen different directions, juggling priorities they never could have imagined when they set their goals for the new year. And yet, leadership is emerging everywhere - in the therapist who dons their PPE to work another day, in the manager who helps their team members navigate the scary prospect of unemployment, in the volunteers who lend their spare time helping deliver even the most basic needs of our communities. Whether you can raise your hand this year to serve as a leader for OPTA or not, your leadership is needed in our world in whatever way you feel called and it is appreciated in whatever form it takes. 

Want to share your insights and experiences?  Please send a brief paragraph to [email protected]