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Dire Warning From Dallas Hospital CEO: Coronavirus Second Surge Exhausting Staff

by Robbie Owens | CBS 11

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Frustrated. Worried. And just about worn out. Those on the front lines of the Covid pandemic making urgent pleas for the community to take precautions.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that every single day we find frontline caregivers: nurses, doctors, respiratory technicians, crying in breakrooms on their breaks," says Dr. Joseph Chang, Chief Medical Officer at Parkland Health.

Covid's dreaded second surge has arrived-- and healthcare workers fear that the situation could get even worse.

"They are exhausted," says Barclay Berdan, CEO, Texas Health Resources. "We look at where we are right now and we look at what might happen through Thanksgiving and Christmas-- I don't know where it will end."

Berdan says the number of Covid-19 patients and those under investigation in the chain's hospitals have increased almost 75% over the past four weeks. And the prolonged battle with Covid is taking a toll on the staff.

"I chatted with a couple of nurses a few days ago who had a terrible day-- that day they had 5 patients in their ICU die and they were heartbroken and just worn out from the care they were providing. We have to get control of this."

Berdan says other nurses are staying in hospital provided hotels to avoid exposing their families. He spoke of another who sent her children to live with relatives. Iin the face of such sacrifice, Berdan says wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding large gatherings is a small price for the community to pay.

"What we are actually trying to avoid is more shutdowns," says Berdan, because in spite of Governor Abbott's assurances, Covid hospitalization rates higher than 15% percent for 7 consecutive days could lead to just that-- and Berdan says we are now on day 2.

"His executive order in place is automatic-- if we go those 7 days. And the only way we can quell that challenge is if more individuals across North Texas practice those things that we are preaching."

The hospital CEO says he understands that the community has grown weary of the pandemic restrictions and long for normalcy. However. "The consequences are dire," stresses Berdan.

And he's urging perspective about the possibility of vaccines.

"There's very positive news about vaccines that are about to be available. But they'll only be available in small quantities over the next several months."

Berdan says he is most worried now about getting through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

"It's clear that a lot of people are traveling. A lot of people after the challenges of these last 9 months are planning to visit family-- and I certainly understand that." And yet.

"I want people next year to be able to visit their family members as well... and the sooner we can get more control of this disease, the better off we'll be."



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