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Health care workers ask for help to slow COVID-19 spread

Frontline workers plead for help amid COVID-19 surge
Doctors and nurses demand governors do more to slow spread of COVID-19 02:15

As coronavirus cases continue to soar, health care workers are raising their voices. Dozens of Connecticut doctors, who are worried about increased hospitalizations and deaths, sent a letter to Governor Ned Lamont with an urgent appeal: shut down indoor dining and gyms now to stop the spread. The letter, spearheaded by Dr. Luke Davis, a critical care physician at Yale New Haven Hospital, prompted an online petition signed by more than 750 people. 

Davis said Lamont did speak directly with him and several colleagues who signed his letter. The governor told them he will monitor the situation — but so far, he's made no changes in Connecticut.

Despite new vaccines on the horizon, Davis said the public shouldn't let down its guard. 

"What is going on inside your hospital that you think people aren't realizing out here?" CBS News asked Davis.

"Well, I think that we're all getting tired," he said. "It's a very difficult disease. And the thing that makes the biggest difference is just not having the hospitals be overloaded, having enough staff to take care of people."

Admissions for COVID-19 at Yale New Haven Hospital have nearly doubled over the last three weeks. The intensive care unit is nearly full.  

In Wisconsin, thousands of health care professionals wrote an open letter to the public, imploring them to take the pandemic seriously and to take action to stop the virus. 

In New York, roughly 200 nurses went on a two-day strike at Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital. During the two-day strike, nurses said they were demanding better working conditions and decided to walk off the job after contract negotiations with the hospital broke down, CBS New York reported.

"We don't have enough staffing so we can't take adequate care of the patients," said Melissa Ricketts, a registered nurse at the hospital.

The hospital said it has offered the nurses what it calls a "good deal," that the facility is in compliance with state rules, and that the union is "selfishly putting the community at risk" with the walkout, CBS N.Y. reported.

At least 866 health care workers have died from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of them was Dr. Carlos Araujo-Preza, of Houston, who died on Monday.

Arauzo-Preja, 51, was a critical care medical director at HCA Houston Hospital in Tomball, Texas, and was among those selected to conduct a study on the effectiveness of using convalescent plasma on critically ill coronavirus patients, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reported.

His daughter, Andrea Araujo, hopes others don't have to experience losing a loved one to COVID-19 like her family has.

"Just be a little bit safer so that no one else can go through a tragedy like this," she told the TV station.

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