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SATURDAY SALUTE: We count on our health care workers

SATURDAY SALUTE: We count on our health care workers

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A thankful Saturday Salute goes this week to all the health care workers throughout our area who have worked so hard to provide the care we need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nowhere is this more true than in our hospitals, where some nurses, doctors and other staff members have been working almost nonstop for more than eight months caring for COVID-19 patients.

Ed Hannon, president of CHI Health St. Francis in Grand Island, said earlier this week that the pandemic is taking an emotional and physical toll on health care professionals.

“Staff are tired,” Hannon said. “We have been dealing with COVID since the early spring. People are working hard, but that is what they do.”

In the Central Health District of Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties and throughout the state, infection numbers and hospitalizations continue to rise. But we know that our hospitals have dedicated, well-trained health professionals on staff who will provide us the care we need.

It’s very taxing for them to deal daily with patients who are critically ill and lose many of those patients.

As CDHD Health Director Teresa Anderson said this week, “Most of our nurses are fearless in the face of this crisis, but at some point they will become fatigued.”

The hospitals are hiring additional staff members who can provide short periods of respite for nurses.

It was good to hear this week from CHI Health CEO Cliff Robertson that the mood among health care workers who have been working throughout the pandemic has improved because they know a lot more now than they did eight months ago about how to treat COVID-19 patients.

Robertson said they are better equipped with the right medical tools to treat patients than they were four months ago.

“There is a more positive feeling now than there was before,” he said.

Robertson said while the increased volume of patients still creates anxiety, “I do believe that the general sense is there is a lot more known and people are more comfortable dealing with the virus. This is a respiratory illness that care teams take care of all the time, even before COVID even existed.”

As Thanksgiving approaches, our thanks goes especially to these caring, steadfast, unhesitating medical professionals who have risked their own health to carry on the fight against the coronavirus and get us back to good health.

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