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Carter County coronavirus cases rise, health care workers fight burnout

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:28 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - With over 300 active cases of coronavirus in Carter County, health officials say they’re feeling like they are back in 2020.

“There is an extreme level of fatigue, burnout and exhaustion, frankly,” Mercy VP of Operations Tyler Hillis said.

Just a few days after the Labor Day holiday, Hillis said the hospital is already overloaded, and they haven’t seen a spike yet.

“Usually there’s about a two to three week delay from the time you get sick to needing to be hospitalized,” Hillis said. “So we anticipate there will be a spike.”

Hillis said this year healthcare workers are seeing more kids getting sick, though not necessarily needing to go to a hospital.

But the hospitalized COVID patients are younger.

“This time with the Delta variant it is a little bit different,” Hilis said. “Last time we didn’t see very many 40, 50 year olds being hospitalized. That number has gone up a lot this time versus the previous surge that we had.”

Lone Grove superintendent Meri Jayne Miller said she feels lucky. Right now the district only has 14 cases of COVID but she knows that can change at any moment.

“We haven’t had just a spike as of yet [this year,]” Miller said. “Our community was hit pretty hard last winter, so as a whole and as a community, I feel like we are in a better place than where we were [last year].”

She said the health department has been talking with districts to make sure they have the latest knowledge about the pandemic.

She said she and her staff have learned to prioritize their health, and teach kids to do the same.

“Being more health conscious,” Miller said. “Maybe taking our vitamins a little more consistently than we did before. Getting some rest, and taking care of ourselves. And trying to teach our kids- instead of push, push, push, let’s have a good balance.”

Miller said they’re also teaching kids to wash hands regularly and check their temperatures when getting ready for the school day.

Miller said she believes it’s a societal shift.

“I feel like it will probably be a permanent change. I think the mindset will be different,” Miller said.

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