Frontline workers at Tampa General share powerful video as COVID cases rise, urge precautions

"I'm worried, you know, for another surge like we had."
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Posted at 5:44 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 17:52:55-05

TAMPA, Fla. — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, a group of frontline workers at Tampa General Hospital shared a powerful video to remind people of how important it is to continue to take precautions.

In the video, which is part of the hospital's "COVID Chronicles," viewers hear from several COVID ICU nurses, a respiratory therapist and a physical therapist.

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"Honestly guys, when I walked into our ICU today it felt like I was walking into the month of July again when we hit our first surge," Suzie Dorner, COVID ICU Nurse Manager, says in the video. "I looked into the faces of some of my nurses and they all had that, 'Oh crap, here we go again,' look in their eyes."

The frontline workers urge people to continue to take precautions like wearing masks, hand washing and avoiding large crowds.

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"A lot of people think it's about politics and they don't think wearing a mask is important, but it is," Emily Panakos, COVID ICU Nurse, says.

According to a report by the nation’s largest nurses union, National Nurses United (NNU), more than 1,700 healthcare workers have died of COVID-19 and related complications. It’s also burning them out, emotionally and mentally.

“I think it’s really important to show the vulnerability," said Dr. Mark Moseley, Chief Clinical Officer at USF Health. "It’s emotionally draining for folks and we only have a tank that’s so full.”

Dr. Moseley also has admitting privileges at TGH. He’s concerned we could overwhelm the system if we continue on this track of surging cases. He’s especially worried as we head into peak flu-season, a time when hospitals normally get full anyway.

“And now it’s going to be flu and COVID?" asked Elizabeth Herzog, a COVID ICU nurse on the video. "How are we going to be able to do this? How are we going to be able to keep up our strength?”

These healthcare workers say if you want to honor their sacrifice you already know what to do. Stay socially distant. Wear a mask.

“People are so fed up with COVID, and this is the time where traditionally families and friends get together but we just have to maintain our discipline. If we do that, we can beat this," said Moseley.

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