NEWS 8 Exclusive: COVID uptick impacting Waterbury emergency workers

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s COVID uptick is making for some difficult times for those frontline workers trying to keep COVID patients healthy in emergency departments in Connecticut’s hospitals. News 8 speaking exclusively Friday with some emergency workers at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury.

They have seen COVID cases quadruple in the last six to eight weeks during this current uptick.

“It’s stressful,” said Lisa Roy, the Nursing Professional Development Specialist at St. Mary’s Hospital. “It hits me to see my staff work so hard — to be so busy — and to put the heart into what they’re doing.”

“It’s much busier. We have more patients. And we need to maintain safety,” she said.

Safety is, as it has always been during this pandemic, a very big concern. Workers on the front lines of this fight against the coronavirus have stressed the need for the general public to wear facemasks, wash their hands, and engage in social distancing. There is a feeling among some people that ignoring those safety guidelines has contributed to the rise in cases lately.

“I really want everybody to understand that these people come to work everyday,” Roy said. “They put everything they have into working. They leave here exhausted.”

“Stay vigilant,” said Dr. Peter Jacoby, Chairman of St. Mary’s Emergency Department. “Wear your mask. Social distance. Wash your hands.”

Dr. Jacoby says even though they’ve seen a rise in cases in the hospital, the uptick is not stressing the system there.

“There are definitely beds available here at St. Mary’s,” he said. “We have a number of patients incubated in The ICU. But, we have ICU beds available. We have beds on the floors.”

Still, Roy acknowledges, the uptick is adding stress to frontline workers.

“A bad day is when you have a large number of patients that need to be sent to the Intensive Care Unit, but our Intensive Care Unit is so busy right now taking care of the patients that are already on ventilators — again on ventilators in November,” she said. “And our numbers are growing in the unit and the nurses are just… they’re busy.”

The Emergency workers are tired, but Roy says they are dedicated to their jobs now more than ever. She also tells News 8 they’re relying on each other to stay strong and help each other — and the public — get through this.

“We have an incredible team here,” she said. “We’re a family.”

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