Many Oklahoma healthcare workers said this stage of the pandemic is more stressful for them than it was a year ago, and some are leaving the industry.
Overwhelmed workers are begging everyone to do their part.
Demoralizing, frustrating and discouraging: words some healthcare workers used to describe how they feel right now.
"Morale is probably at an all-time low right now," said Dr. Chris Sudduth, a cofounder of Remedy Health Direct Primary Care in Tulsa.
Sudduth is also one of the earliest COVID-19 survivors in Oklahoma after he became infected in March 2020. He said he got the vaccine after it became available and does not understand why so many people are still choosing not to.
"Some folks are, in some cases, belligerent about getting the vaccine or wearing a mask,” said Sudduth. “We're not enemies. We're not opposing each other here. We are all one Oklahoma, and we are at war with a virus."
Julia Profit works as a registered nurse in Cushing and described her job as exhausting mentally and physically.
"It's very frustrating to see patients come into your ER and be admitted into your ICU units daily with knowing that this could be prevented," said Profit.
Profit also said the stress is taking a toll on an industry that is already stretched thin. She said now, some workers are leaving Oklahoma to take jobs in other states with better pay and conditions or even leaving the industry.
"We have families ourselves, and you know, we want to be healthy, and every person that we have to care for, there is an element of risk," said Profit.
Healthcare workers stress the best thing the community can do to help them is to get vaccinated, wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.
Ascension St. John gave News On 6 the following statement:
The health and safety of our associates, patients, and this community remains our top priority. Recently, we’ve seen a notable and concerning increase in patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19.
While we are currently able to safely provide care, this increase can directly impact the ability of all of our local health systems to provide care to other patients who do not have COVID-19 but require hospitalization for another reason.
Most of these patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, and we cannot stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated and encouraging your loved ones to get vaccinated, as well.
The approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any identified risks or side effects.
We understand that some may have concerns about the vaccine, but if you have questions, reach out to your doctor and talk to them about it. Many healthcare providers are knowledgeable and equipped to address any questions and concerns you may have.
Everyone in our community plays a critical role in keeping us safe from this virus. The most effective way we can protect ourselves and each other right now is by getting vaccinated and encouraging our friends and family to get vaccinated.