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Healthcare workers in Central Alabama deal with a number of challenges

It’s the start of a long winter season for doctors and nurses in Central Alabama. Flu cases are already at a high level and COVID-19 cases are also increasing. Ten adults and three children have died from the flu in Alabama this season. Data from the Alabama Department of Health shows the flu is rampant across the state, adding to an already trying three years for health workers in the region. “You hear a lot about tiredness, exhaustion from taking care of so many sick patients for so long,” says Dr. Wesley Willeford of the Jefferson County Department of Health. “You know, I think the best way to help with that is for each person to embrace the protection that’s being given to us.” Doctors and nurses haven’t been as preoccupied with COVID-19 cases in recent months but that is beginning to change. Alabama’s positivity rate is as high as 9.8 percent, meaning nearly 10 percent of all COVID tests are positive. COVID-19 hospitalizations have also increased, with 246 people currently hospitalized in the state with the virus. “The hospital is always what we worry about the most,” adds Willeford. “We want our hospitals to be able to care for anyone who comes into the hospital who needs care and not have to worry about where a patient is being placed. Where are they being cared for?” School nurses have certainly taken care of their share of COVID-19 patients over the past three years, but the recent focus has been on flu cases. At the same time, school nurses have felt the pandemic pressure just like other providers. “With COVID, there was so much unknown in the beginning, and that was a little bit scary as a healthcare provider,” says Amy Marvin, principal nurse at Oak Mountain Middle School. While this winter isn’t expected to be as bad as previous winters that have caused concerns about COVID-19, healthcare workers know it probably won’t be a walk in the park either. Like anything, they will get through it, but healthcare workers remain committed to helping others through difficult times because it is their passion.

It’s the start of a long winter season for doctors and nurses in Central Alabama. Flu cases are already at a high level and COVID-19 cases are also increasing.

Ten adults and three children have died from the flu in Alabama this season. Data from the Alabama Department of Health shows the flu is rampant across the state, adding to the already trying three years for healthcare workers in the region.

“You hear a lot about tiredness, exhaustion from taking care of so many sick patients for so long,” says Dr. Wesley Willeford of the Jefferson County Department of Health. “You know, I think the best way to help with that is for each person to embrace the protection that’s being given to us.”

Doctors and nurses haven’t been as concerned with COVID-19 cases in recent months, but that’s starting to change. Alabama’s positivity rate is as high as 9.8 percent, meaning nearly 10 percent of all COVID tests are positive. COVID-19 hospitalizations have also increased, with 246 people currently hospitalized in the state with the virus.

“The hospital is always what we worry about the most,” adds Willeford. “We want our hospitals to be able to care for anyone who comes into the hospital in need of care and not have to worry about where a patient is placed. Where are they taken care of?”

School nurses have certainly been concerned with their share of COVID-19 patients over the past three years, but the focus lately has been flu cases. At the same time, school nurses have felt the pandemic pressure just like other providers.

“There was so much unknown initially with COVID, and that was a little bit scary as a healthcare provider,” says Amy Marvin, the principal nurse at Oak Mountain Middle School.

While this winter isn’t expected to be as bad as previous winters in terms of COVID-19, healthcare workers know it probably won’t be a cakewalk either. But like everything, they will survive.

“And you know, since everyone had different feelings about COVID, it was difficult for a healthcare worker to deal with that, seeing the downsides of the disease,” adds Marvin.

She and other healthcare workers remain committed to helping others through hard times because it is their passion.

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