On the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, nurse Anna Slayton says every day's a 12-hour day.
“These days, typically, we have anywhere from three to four patients to one nurse,” she said.
The Midlothian nurse has been helping to equip free-standing hospitals to take as many of the stable COVID-19 patients as possible. The hope is to free up space in DFW’s larger ICUs.
Still, bed space is precious.
“If they come up positive and really they're not symptomatic other than the breathing, and they're able to breathe on room air, those patients are discharged home, because we need the oxygen for those who need it,” Slayton said.
At times, it's a flashback to last spring when she joined thousands of nurses who traveled to New York to provide relief for its overwhelmed health care system.
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“Honestly, it feels like a lifetime ago now,” Slayton said. “We really just felt stronger and we felt more powerful. And I think as the months have gone by, we're just so fatigued and that rallying has kind of lost its fizzle in the public. So, you're just seeing a lot of burned out, tired nurses."
Because, she said, the virus hasn't stopped.
“It’s just frustrating. Because we can sit here and advocate and teach people all day, but again, people have to be self-responsible to do the social distancing, to wear a mask, to not put yourself around others who are more vulnerable than yourself. And we're seeing what we're seeing because people aren't doing that,” Slayton said.
Ellis County, along with much of DFW, is included in the state's Trauma Service E where the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients accounted for more than 15% of hospital capacity for seven straight days.
Wednesday, that triggered a rollback of the occupancy allowed in nonessential business from 75% to 50%.
Saturday, TSA E dipped just below that threshold to 14.94%. For capacity to increase again, a Trauma Service Area must remain below 15% for seven days in a row.