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Healthcare workers express concerns over rise in COVID cases post Christmas


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    PUTNAM, Connecticut (WFSB) — Now that Christmas is behind us, there are growing concerns about a new surge in coronavirus cases.

“I’ve been a nurse for over thirty years and never witnessed anything like this before,” John O’Keefe, the Chief Nursing Officer at Day Kimball Hospital, tells us.

He says right now, the hospital has its highest number of COVID patients since the pandemic began.

“We’re very busy. This wave has been worse for Day Kimball and northeastern Connecticut than the prior situation that happened in March,” continued O’Keefe.

“Most of our rooms, at one point, have been filled with all COVID positive patients. It’s been pretty stressful,” Melissa Johnston, a nurse that works in Day Kimball Hospital’s Emergency Department, explained.

Adding to the stress on healthcare workers, concerns over another surge in COVID-19 cases following Christmas and holiday gatherings.

Melissa anticipates more coronavirus patients will be coming through the emergency room in the coming weeks.

“We’ve definitely seen a surge after Thanksgiving. I’m sure that it will probably be the same for Christmas,” continued Johnston.

And back in the Spring, Day Kimball Hospital transformed a construction trailer into a unit for COVID patients.

That way they could ease the burden on the emergency department.

“If someone has symptoms and their vital signs are stable, and they’re able to stay outside, we test and treat them outside, and send them home to quarantine,” stated

For more than nine months, frontline staff have been working around the clock.

“Its day to day. I think we all just try to keep the staff morale to a level where they can come to work and we try supporting the staff,” said.

And while the vaccine is providing a shot of hope, healthcare workers don’t want you to let your guard down.

“I think we need to stay the course. I think you need to wear your mask. I think you need to social distance. I think you need to wash your hands,” added.

And healthcare workers are emphasizing that medical facilities are safe and if you have a medical issue, you shouldn’t be fearful of visiting the hospital.

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Article Topic Follows: National-World

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