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Coronavirus Watch

Healthcare Workers: Its Hard to Show Up

During the peak of 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, 69% of healthcare workers reported feeling stressed, and 17% reported feeling highly stressed, according to a survey report.

In this Delta variant fueled second wave of the pandemic, healthcare workers are reportedly feeling similar stressed again. In NPR News, health reporter Catherine Richert writes that new wave of COVID-19 cases frustrates, angers health workers and express “It’s hard to show up“.

In the story, Catherine highlights a Sanford Bemidji Medical Center nurse Jessica Mistic, one the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine last winter, recalling her feelings after she got her first shot:

“Finally we had another weapon in our arsenal. We could do something about it. I was so hopeful and so excited.”

Nurse Jessica told Catherine of MPR News that her feeling of hope has dimmed now. Majority of COVID-19 patients in the Bemidji hospital are reportedly unvaccinated and many of them told Jessica — they regret not getting the shot.

It’s heartbreaking. And it’s frustrating. It’s so sad.

Nurse Jessica Mistic, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center (source: MPR News)

Catherine writes “If more people had been vaccinated, it would have prevented unnecessary deaths, and another wave of exhausting work for an already burned-out health care workforce”.

Dr. Bryan Williams, chief well-being officer and a pulmonary and critical care physician M Health Fairview, told Catherine of MPR News:

“When it started to come back, it was a real kick in the gut. For some of those [health workers] that were most hard hit by the last wave, I think that enough was enough for them.”

According to Dr. Williams “his health system is down nurses, respiratory therapists and nursing aides, making it even harder to handle the crush of patients during this wave.”

Nicole Kiesow, Essentia Health physician assistant at northwest Minnesota’s Clearwater County, who reportedly talks to patients regularly about the COVID-19 vaccine told MPR News that a lot of her unvaccinated patients are elderly — which means they are at the highest risk of getting severe cases of COVID-19. Describing her patients Nicole told:

“Some of them are like, ‘Well, I just thought I’d wait and let the people that really needed [it] get it first’. You don’t have to worry about the others as much. But you need to do what you have to do to keep yourself healthy.”

Dr. Andrea Patten, an emergency room physician at Sanford Health’s facility in Bemidji, who reportedly sees often unvaccinated COVID-patients, described herself in a “mind-boggling scenario” with patients.

“From that minute it is like this battleground of beliefs. Then [when] I tell them, ‘You have COVID,’ it’s just like I’ve shot daggers out of my eyes.”

Dr Anthrea Patten, Sanford Health’s facility in Bemidji (source: MPR News)

It’s hard to show up. You read the [research] articles, and you try to be the expert. But people don’t want to hear it. They don’t believe you. They don’t have any faith in you.”

Dr Andrea Patten (source: MPR News)

“You’re left with a scenario of ‘How do I balance still trying to maintain relationships and friends who don’t think the vaccine is wise?’ You love people because they’re your friends and family. And you’ll support them. But it’s definitely changed the things that we talk about,” Dr Patten told Catherine of MPR News.

Catherine writes that nurse Jessica is “balancing her stress at work by riding and taking care of her horses. And yet disagreements over the pandemic seep into her personal life, too”.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of September 23, 9 a.m.) 469,561,625 doses have been distributed and 387,821,704 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of September 21) a total of 6,372,358 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of September 23) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 694,320 (out of 12,229,396 tested) with 8,049 deaths.