By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Healthcare workers admit they are tired amid a pandemic they measure in days, not months.

Doctors invited WCCO to see what it’s like inside Regions Hospital, where nearly 90 patients are receiving care for COVID-19 right now. WCCO found some of them feeling grateful for a good outcome.

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“That’s my room, bed,” Sergio Choy said.

Choy has been confined for nearly a week on the ninth floor of Regions Hospital, three floors from the sickest COVID-19 patients in the ICU. Considered an immunosuppressed patient, the 43-year-old worried what contracting the virus could mean for him.

“By the next weekend the fever started setting in,” Choy said.

Near the end of last month, he found out.

“I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe as well. That was what scared me,” he added. “Honestly, I didn’t want to come into the hospital. I was afraid you know. You hear people die in here with COVID.”

But when his oxygen levels dropped below 90%, Choy knew it was time. One of the lucky ones, Remdesiveir helped to turn his condition around.

Dr. Julie Schaefer is in her first year at Regions Hospital. Schaefer completed her residency at the University of Minnesota last year.

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“On my service all of my patients are COVID positive patients. They’re all on ventilators, breathing machines and life support,” Schaefer said. “It’s not how I expected starting my first year in medicine in the middle of a pandemic.”

In some cases, she’s the one saying a final goodbye to families over video calls.

“They are some of the sickest patients I have ever cared for,” she said.

Forced to deal with an unexpected emotional burden with no visitors allowed.

“We know there is meaning and purpose behind the work and that is what is carrying us but we’re tired and we’re feeling it,” she said.

Choy seemed more concerned with the long haul healthcare workers are in than what he’s been through, believing it’s time for the same show of support we saw this spring, as difficult days drag on.

“You can tell they’re kind of pulling themselves to hang in there and stay positive,” Choy said. “It slowly faded away, but COVID hasn’t faded away.”

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Liz Collin