There’s hope on the horizon now that vaccines are being distributed. But ICU nurses are still on the front lines fighting for the lives of those hit hardest by the virus. Daniel Call grew up in Florida. He said the last 10 months in North Texas have been like a hurricane.
Nursing is his passion but COVID-19 has tested him at every turn, in every way.
“It’s just a constant storm and it gets worse and worse and we’re not on the other side of it yet,” said Call. “We usually work three 12-hour shifts a week. A lot of us are working four, over five, I know some nurses working six right now.”
He said he pours everything into his patients, as do his colleagues. Still, as an ICU nurse, he knows even the best care, the most dedicated medical staff, and modern medicine won’t be enough for everyone who comes through the doors of the hospital. He's seen far too many enter and not walk back out.
“I’ve probably seen more death in the last eight months than I was supposed to see in half a career or better, and that’s just the honest truth of it,” he said.
Often, it’s him and his colleagues standing bedside, in positions where family members should be during a patient's final moments.
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“As human beings, we’re meant to have loved ones at our side,” he said. “And the reality is that with this disease sometimes that’s not possible, and that’s really hard. And sometimes it’s just us; the nurses, the techs the physicians that are there where family should be but can’t be.”
It’s why he said it’s critical for us to look out for each other. It’s still as important now as ever to follow the rules of social distancing, handwashing and face coverings.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.
“I’m not wearing a mask to protect me, I’m wearing a mask to protect you because I care about you as a fellow American, as my neighbor.”
Recently, some North Texas counties broke daily COVID-19 records. Dallas County set a new daily high on January 12 with 3,549 new positive cases. That was roughly 350 cases higher than previously reported in a single day. As of January 7, Tarrant County topped 167,700 cases of COVID-19 with an ICU hospital capacity of 96%.
Even with a vaccine, Call said we’re not in the clear. But as shots are distributed, he said there is hope.
“I think there is a potential for the tide to turn in the coming months,” he said. “And I’m praying for it, hoping for it. And I hope so for all of us.”
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.