One frontline nurse tells us she wishes people would realize how bad the situation is.
In October, Elkhart County saw 36 coronavirus deaths. As of today, just halfway through the month, it’s seen 35.
“We are really in trouble,” said Dr. Lydia Mertz, Elkhart County health officer.
The county is working on additional restrictions that’ll be announced sometime this week. Leaders continue to deal with record hospitalizations and have even discussed a possible field hospital, but that comes with an even bigger challenge.
“We have a giant staffing problem right now, said Mertz. “So many healthcare workers, they live in the community they’ve caught the virus or they’re under quarantine, and no matter how many beds you have you still have to have someone take care of the patients.”
Goshen Health says its staffing has reached critical levels, with about 5 percent of the staff in quarantine. It’s asking for anyone with medical training or knowledge to step up and help out.
“We are seeing so many extra patients, there just aren’t enough doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists to meet the demand,” said Dr. Dan Nafziger.
The stress on frontline workers has been overwhelming. A hospice nurse who works in Elkhart County wanted to remain anonymous, but says she wishes people would realize how bad the situation is.
“Think about all the people that every day for 8 hours a day of 12 hours we have a mask on. And it’s not that nice cloth mask, it’s the N-95 that’s tight, it hurts your nose, your ear hurts when you’re done. We have to wear goggles and gowns. It’s hot. We’re doing that and then to hear people say,
Well, I’m not going to do that.’ It’s hurtful and it seems like they don’t care.”
She says family sometimes can’t say goodbye because they’re in quarantine and some nursing home residents are isolated almost the entire day.
“You have people that won’t wear their masks and think it’s a political thing and think it’s a big joke. If they could see these people and how they’re suffering, they wouldn’t think that.”
Again, Goshen Health is pleading with anyone with medical experience to reach out to them to help care for the surge of patients.
These workers will also be vital as new therapies and vaccines begin to roll out.