COVID-19: Doctors see more infection in health care workers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Over a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors have seen patients from every walk of life, including their own.

Doctors are speaking up about breakthrough cases inside the health care industry and how that takes a toll on hospitals, emergency rooms, and especially COVID-19 wards.

“Every day at UF Health we end up finding staff that has to be quarantined due to an unanticipated exposure,” says Chirag Patel at UF Health.

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It’s something some doctors feel patients may forget — doctors can get sick too.

“Adding to the fact that everybody, like everybody else, doctors, nurses, therapists, everybody can get sick as well. It just compounds the issue,” Patel says.

It’s become a common issue. Mohammed Reza at Mayo Clinic says it’s taken a toll.

“This is something we’re dealing with on a daily basis as frontline workers.”

Hospitals have to quarantine staff when an unexpected COVID-19 case exposes doctors or nurses. Doctor Patel says it creates a strain within the halls in the hospital.

“This is going to drain an already depleted workforce.”

They say it’s having a long-term impact on doctors.

“Keep in mind this is been going on for over 18 months. Health care workers are exhausted both physically and mentally,” Patel says.

“It plays a toll on us mentally, physically, because we know that we could bring this back to our homes,” adds Reza.

Doctor Reza says they are tired of being scared to go home to their families as the virus spreads.

“Frustration. frustration. because now it’s all preventable. So most of the patients we are seeing in a hospital setting that are requiring hospitalizations are unvaccinated.”

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They say in many cases they feel their sacrifices are overlooked by those they are caring for.

“We’re still putting our health and safety on the line for people that didn’t do the minimum which was to wear a mask and vaccinate at this point.”