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Hospital employees overwhelmed by omicron

Evangelical Community Hospital near Lewisburg currently has more than 50 employees out sick with COVID-19.

LEWISBURG, Pa. — As the omicron variant spreads quickly, many health care workers are feeling the effects.

A spokesperson for Evangelical Community Hospital near Lewisburg shared pictures inside the hospital's intensive care unit. Right now, nearly half of the hospital's 98 patients have COVID-19.

"These are people legitimately being treated with COVID as their primary diagnosis. What we're seeing right now is huge community spread. Our testing site is seeing huge numbers again," said Kendra Aucker, President and CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital.

"Two weeks ago, we had three workers who had COVID and were off. Today we have almost 55 people out with COVID."

Aucker says her hospital was fully staffed last year, but many people have since left the health care field.

"People are tired. Just like we feel about it in our personal lives, imagine never getting a break from it. When you work in it, and you're at the bedside, it's exhausting."

Like many hospitals in Pennsylvania, Aucker says Evangelical is close to capacity. Her team believes the worst is coming in the next week or so.

"Every day, you show up, and you do the best that you can. But I am extremely concerned about my workforce and how exhausted everyone is. You just don't know the impacts."

Aucker says most of the patients in Evangelical's ICU are not vaccinated.

"It's very frustrating to see the kinds of things you see. When you work on a unit where you see people in their 40s dying when you know it was preventable, it's hard."

Aucker says the best way to help health care workers is by getting vaccinated.

Watch more stories about the coronavirus pandemic on WNEP’s YouTube page.

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