A year later: COVID-19 continues to leave mark on local hospitals

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A year into the COVID-19 pandemic and New York has seen the tremendous mental and physical toll on healthcare workers. Frontline workers are learning to cope with a fight and some schedules they’ve never seen before.

It has been a year of unknowns, loss and fear for frontline workers.

“Our staff was coming in everyday, and they were decked out in PPE. They had to put their own needs and fears aside to take care of patients,” said Dr. Christopher Burky, Chair of Ellis Medical Group’s Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Burky said many healthcare workers are managing their own grief after fighting in the trenches and seeing a lot of death firsthand.

“A year ago our staff didn’t know if they were going to carry the virus home to their families. People were also working much longer hours with an infectious disease that their not use to dealing with,” said he.

He said since the beginning of the pandemic his staff’s mental health has been at the forefront.

“We really had to step up as an organization and make sure our staff have the support they need to do their jobs. They also had to emotionally survive the stress of all of this,” said Dr. Burky.

Anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and even suicide are things many healthcare workers have had to deal with.  

Ashley Millington, the Clinical Manager at Ellis Hospital Mental Health said it’s crucial to check in with staff everyday.

“You also want to make sure that the person knows that it’s okay to feel that way, and it’s okay to ask for help if you need it,” said she.

Dr. Burky said it’s important to show their healthcare workers that they are supported.

“We also have been giving out special COVID-19 courage awards, for staff members that have really gone above and beyond,” said he. 

Ellis Hospital said no better word to describe their staff this past year is resilient.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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