Mid-Michigan nurse leaning on community while bracing for second wave of COVID-19

Healthcare professionals across Michigan are preparing for a potential second wave of COVID-19
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 9:58 AM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/15/2020) - Healthcare professionals across Michigan are preparing for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

One Flint nurse, however, says he’s already noticing a huge spike in the past couple of weeks, and now there’s a sudden shortage of ICU beds where he works.

He says looking back to April, he relied on community support to keep his chin up during those rough days, and he’ll be counting on that again the second time around.

“I felt like we were living in a war zone. Every day you were preparing yourself mentally and physically to go into the unknown,” Justin Arnold said.

Arnold is a Mid-Michigan registered nurse. He’s recalling his early days of the pandemic, working on the designated COVID floor every single day.

“I’m calling it flashbacks where we’re seeing these patients require ventilators again. We’re seeing them require much more nursing care and higher level of care than what we were seeing all summer," Arnold said.

Now, Arnold says the ICU is full with a majority of COVID patients, and they don’t have empty beds because they’re staying for longer times. The ICU step-down floor went from half COVID patients to virtually all COVID patients.

He says he’s not only concerned for the patients but for the nurses as well.

“We had a lot of nurses who suffered mentally from the first round of COVID. We’re all still exhausted because we never really got a break from it,” Arnold said.

Arnold says much like Amazon purchases were taking longer to ship items to customers, it’s much of the same with suppliers delivering PPE to healthcare professionals.

He says much like last time, he’ll be leaning on the community’s support to help get through a potential second wave.

“We advocate for our patients even when they can’t advocate for themselves, but right now, nurses I feel like not just at McLaren but across the board, we’re all struggling because we need advocates for us to help us with our mental health, help us get breaks from the hospital, help us have everything we need to do our job and do it safely," Arnold said.

McLaren Flint issued the following statement about its preparedness Friday evening:

“McLaren Flint continues to have the capacity and protective equipment to meet the health care needs of the community, including critically ill patients. As the region’s hospital for advanced cardiac, stroke, cancer, orthopedic, and surgical care, McLaren Flint is constantly adjusting to surges in patient volume to ensure we can always provide life-saving care to our community. We continue to serve all patients in our hospital, including those afflicted with COVID-19. In addition, our outpatient clinics resumed all their traditional services months ago, and continue to serve patients from Genesee County and beyond.”

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