LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Doctors at both major hospital systems said their staff is stressed out.

Some doctors and nurses are working 10-day stretches, delivering end-of-life COVID care on a daily basis. Now, there’s even more anxiety about what’s to come. Non-clinical staff is stepping up to be runners or sitting in with patients and there is necessary over time. They said the feeling in the hospital is certainly different from the spring, but it is still full of anxiety about the future.

“While many patients don’t have severe illness, many that we are treating develop severe pulmonary disease and viral pneumonia,” said Dr. Alissa Clough, with Bryan Health.

Hospitals now have four times as many COVID-19 patients as they did during the spring spike, as patients are being infected in different ways and staying longer.

“Our patient population contact now seems to be coming from small family gatherings,” said Dr. Ed Hannon, with CHI Health St. Francis “They keep social distance in their work environment, but they go home and let their guard down. so it’s the small family gatherings that we’re worried about as holidays are coming.”

Now both CHI Health and Bryan have scaled back some elective surgeries that require overnight stays.

“Unfortunately, when you have to cut back on surgeries, you can’t just take a surgical nurse, or surgeon and throw them into the ICU,” said Bob Ravenscroft, the VP of Advancement at Bryan Health “It is allowing them to transition into sometimes non-clinical roles.”

And both issuing a call to continue wearing masks, washing hands and distancing.

“We wouldn’t be telling people this is important if it wasn’t important,” said Dr. Cliff Robertson, with CHI Health. “There is better science today to support the value mask brings not only to me as an individual but also to the loved ones and my community.”

“We do not want to have to ration care or turn down patients in rural Nebraska that need our help,” said Dr. Clough.

Both hospitals agreed that right now is an all-hands-on-deck type of moment.

St. Francis in Grand Island said they had 400 shifts filled by people who aren’t normally working in the hospitals, adding that some people are even going through additional training to provide more support.

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