COVID-19

“It’s going to take all of us, collectively, to get through” the pandemic

Kalamazoo County's health officer worries about winter COVID impact on workers and lives.

For eight months now, healthcare workers have been wrestling with the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s led to trauma and burnout for many doctors and nurses. Some have left their careers entirely to avoid the caustic effects of caring for patients during the pandemic.

Kalamazoo County’s health officer, Jim Rutherford, wants people to take the pandemic seriously to avoid more stress and loss of lives.

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“I think a lot of people just think we can set up field hospitals,” he said in an interview with WWMT. “We can’t make additional doctors. We can’t make additional nurses. These people are tired. They’ve been at it for a long long time now.”

He’s not unsympathetic to the plight of restaurants and other businesses shutdown during a temporary order restricting many leisure activities. But he says following safety guidelines could make everything a lot easier.

“When we’re asking healthcare workers to work seven days a week, for ten months straight. When we’re putting restaurants in a position where many of them are unable to meet their payroll or pay their bills, that’s a huge ask.” said Rutherford. “So for us to just ask people to wear a mask and social distance, that’s not that tough to do.”

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