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COVID-19 One Year Later: What was it really like on the front lines?

Healthcare workers share their stories a year into the pandemic.
Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The twelve months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a defining year personally and professionally for our front-line health care workers.

“We never thought in a million years that we would be up against something like this,” says Chris Middleton a Mercy Health nurse. “[Something] that not only devastated us, it devastated the whole nation.”

“Probably every single member of my staff members cried the first day,” recalls Sherrie Periatt. She manages the COVID-19 step-down unit at Mercy Health St. Vincent’s Medical Center. “This is the first time in our careers that we’ve been afraid for ourselves and our families alongside being afraid for patients.”

“We put people in positions that they probably didn’t think, as a nurse, that they’d ever be in in their lives,” says Anders Jacobson, the manager of the COVID-19 ICU at St. V’s.

“Nothing that I had ever experienced in my career,” remembers Dr. James Tita, M.D., the critical care specialist in charge of the ICU. ”Just the sheer numbers; the severity of illness and all the uncertainty.”

All of the healthcare workers we spoke to say we are not done battling COVID yet but they have gotten much better at managing risk in caring for patients. They all encourage everyone to get the vaccine when it becomes available to them, and implore people to continue following safety guidelines and social distancing until we have achieved herd immunity.

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