VCU health care workers share what it’s like to be on front lines of COVID-19 fight

VCU health care workers share what it’s like to be on front lines of COVID-19 fight

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - VCU health care workers are sharing what it is like to be on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

With only a few days until Thanksgiving and COVID-19 cases climbing in Virginia, VCU health care workers are sharing what is going on behind-the-scenes as they care for patients ill with COVID-19.

The public service campaign video features the emotional stories of doctors and nurses who have been on the front lines since March.

“I’m having the same kind of panic, fear feelings like I had in the beginning again,” said Joy Wolf, RN and Clinical Coordinator with VCU Health System.

The recent uptick in COVID cases in Central Virginia is something nurse Wolf said she seeing in the hospital.

“It’s getting tight already, and it’s just November,” she added. “I’m very worried for the future.”

Wolf is one of several VCU health care workers who opened up about their experiences on the front lines.

“Family members are not allowed at the bedside,” said Lisa Brath, MD. “That’s really a whole different practice for me.”

“It just breaks my heart that some of these people may die alone in their rooms,” Wolf added.

That procedural change has left workers finding a greater connection to their patients.

“We’re their person,” Wolf said. “I think a lot of people miss the in-person conversations and contact.”

Wolf added the number of hours spent caring for these patients also weighs heavy on her mind when she leaves work.

“I would hate to be the one who spread it to all the people I love,” she said.

However, the thought of what these patients are going through and have to live with afterward is something Wolf said needs attention as well.

“This is not the flu, this is not something you get over in a couple days,” she said. “People are here for weeks and months. We’ve seen people leave with lasting lung conditions and heart conditions.”

“We need the community to be a part of [our] team,” Brath said. “There are a lot of families who are going to have an empty chair at the table this holiday season.”

However, there is one gift you can give these health care workers this holiday season.

“Wear a mask,” Wolf said. “It is so easy to wear a mask and socially distance. We can make such a big difference in the numbers by doing that.”

The Virginia Department of Health reported 221,038 total coronavirus cases throughout the state Monday. The 7-day PCR testing positivity rate increased slightly to 7.2 percent.

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