This Thanksgiving holiday, Americans were urged to celebrate in small groups,with immediate family, or virtually.
But for healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s just a Thursday.
Now nine months into the pandemic, healthcare workers are feeling the strain.
“I have a very nervous gut around this next wave of COVID here in Baltimore,” said Daniel Blum, President of Sinai Hospital and Grace Medical Center (formerly Bon Secours) in Baltimore.
“It can be really soul-sucking for some people,” Blum said of the pandemic stretching on. “I worry tremendously for the healthcare workers, their emotional state, their resiliency.”
On Thursday, the Maryland Department of Health reported 1,453 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state – up 47 patients from the day before.
Healthcare workers are just bracing for whatever comes next – unable to predict exactly how things will unfold.
“With COVID, you know it’s a demoralizing situation and especially as these healthcare workers see people undertaking risky practices in the community,” said Blum. “Knowing that that’s gonna translate to more and more patients coming here who are desperately ill.”
Blum, also Senior Vice President of LifeBridge Health, tells FOX45 his facilities have enough space and staff – for now.
But watching the virus trends in Maryland has him unsure of what the coming weeks and months will entail.
“It’s a bit horrifying cause we know what could be ahead and that is not enough hospital beds, not enough medications, supplies, not enough workers,” said Blum.
Other states, however, are already finding themselves in a staffing bind to keep up with hospitalizations.
Exclusion of exposed asymptomatic healthcare professionals from work for prolonged periods might impact health care system capacity.
Similar to CDC guidelines for exposed healthcare staff, in some cases this plan in Minnesota asks asymptomatic workers to leave quarantine to head back to work.
“I don’t want to ever see us in the position where we would have to knowingly field sick workers or people who are infected and infectious,” said Blum. “And we have no plan to do that at this time.”
The Maryland Department of Health says this practice is not happening in the state but did not rule it out in the future.