Triad ICU doctors and nurses discuss climb in COVID hospitalizations: ‘It’s incredibly heartbreaking’


GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Triad doctors and nurses working in intensive care units are seeing more people hospitalized with COVID-19 as case numbers continue to climb.

“We all sort of felt it coming as we saw more and more patients come in that were positive. Our emergency rooms are getting fuller. And it’s just really heartbreaking to watch,” said registered nurse Amanda Payne, who serves as an administrative coordinator for Cone Health

Cone Health has 75 patients receiving care in the system. According to the Guilford County Emergency Management Director, 52 of them are being treated at Moses Cone.

“I’m an intensive care nurse, so you see the sickest of the sick in our community. And it’s heartbreaking to think that I’m going to have to watch more people pass away from something that was preventable for the most part,” Payne said.

She was one of the staff members working long hours at Cone’s Green Valley campus, and celebrated facility’s closure as a dedicated COVID hospital in March.

“I’ve seen my own coworkers get sick. I’ve seen my own family gets sick at this point. I don’t want to see this anymore. I’m exhausted. And I think a lot of a lot of staff feel that way,” she said.

Dr. Ashish Khanna, an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology for Wake Forest Baptist Health said hospitals are well equipped to handle increases.

“We are very much ready for a surge situation. Locally, I don’t think the surge has come yet. However, what is really disturbing is that we are getting a lot of ICU transfers coming in from out of state, specifically the states of Georgia and Florida,” he explained.

Dr. Khanna said the next two to three weeks will be critical, and encouraged more people to get vaccinated to protect themselves.

“I would have thought that by this time in 2021, I would never need to see personal protective equipment again to the extent that I needed to last year. But this morning, as I got gowned and gloved up, I took a deep breath. And I said to myself, you know, here we go again,” he said.

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