DENVER (CBS4) – While Colorado’s number of coronavirus cases appears to have stabilized, cases in other states continue to climb. Florida and Texas are among the states in the midst of surges that have front-line workers stretched thin.
Forty-five volunteers from HealthONE hospitals in Colorado have been deployed to HCA Healthcare facilities in need in those states.
One nurse volunteer from Denver has spent nearly three weeks in Atlantis, Florida.
“You can just kind of see that there’s a lot of stress and fatigue on their faces,” said Mary Cothren, RN at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.
“Welcoming but worn out” — that’s how Mary describes the workers she meets at JFK Medical Center.
ICUs in the Sunshine State are crowded with coronavirus patients. Since July 15, Mary has been helping the helpers who have been struggling since March.
“Close to 600 staff members (at JFK) who’ve been exposed and/or have been sick,” she said.
Mary has been working 175 employee cases, at a desk 10 to 12 hours a day, touching base by phone.
“Usually their number one concern is ‘How do I prevent this from spreading to my family?'” she said.
Her work there is very different from Mary’s usual job in the Pediatric ICU at RMHC, but Mary volunteered.
“It’s a team effort, and we have to be there to support one another,” she said.
What Mary sees outside the hospital in Florida shocks her … no statewide mask order, large groups of people, little social distancing.
“It’s baffling to me that there is so much research about infectious disease and how to prevent transmission that nobody cares, people just don’t seem to care,” she said.
Mary will soon leave this hospital to work in the ICU at another Florida facility.
“Part of me is really looking forward to getting back to patient care and being at the bedside. The other part of me is absolutely terrified,” Mary admitted.
But this RN will bring her drive and sense of duty and do what she can to make a difference.
HealthONE released this statement to CBS4:
HealthONE has had a total of 82 volunteers, thus far, from across our hospitals in Denver willing to assist our sister HCA Healthcare facilities across the US in hotspots.
Of those 82 volunteers, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, where Mary Cothren is from, have had the most (35).