By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – The third spike of coronavirus cases is yet another hurdle for Colorado first responders this year. It’s causing some COVID-19 fatigue.

“It’s tenfold what we saw back in the spring,” said Denver Health Paramedic Koree Zagala. “We’re here to help people and for a lot of people when they call 911, it’s a big deal. It’s a crisis in their life. We can come, and we can take control of what’s going on and give people comfort because we’re here, we’re experienced and we’re able to take care of their family member.”

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Paramedics like Zagala have been dealing with nine months of the pandemic, and many were called into the crowds during the summer’s civil and social unrest. It’s been a nearly daily occurrence of uncomfortable and dangerous situations.

“We almost just assume everyone has COVID now. Since the pandemic is so out of control. We wear a mask every single call, every patient contact and eye protection and gloves of course. We run calls, we help people, that’s our job every single day,” Zagala said.

Denver Health has peer support teams and earlier this year started a Resiliency in Stressful Events group to help with employee’s mental health.

(credit: CBS)

“To help people cope with the reality of everything going on. It’s pretty comforting knowing we have that support if we have a bad call,” Zagala said. “It’s a hard time for everyone. Not seeing family, not being able to go do your normal things.”

She says the new procedures put in place to protect her team during the pandemic have become routine like donning constant personal protective equipment. They continue working to keep sharp in the harshest of conditions as the pandemic rages on.

“Just coming to work every day knowing that we’re here to help people,” Zagala said.

Jeff Todd

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