COLUMBIA, S.C. — Outside Prisma Health Richland Hospital, for some, things can feel somewhat normal. But inside the effects of the coronavirus pandemic cannot be ignored as frontline workers push tirelessly to try to save those affected by it.
“It’s hard; it’s sad; it’s a tearjerker," Georgia Altus said.
She's been a nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU) for nearly six years, but says she'd never seen anything like the coronavirus.
"March and April were awful; it was the unknown," Altus said. "Then in the summer months we had another huge surge, and it's just taxing. It's a feeling of defeat."
Throughout the day, she transitions from caregiver to loved one, comforting those separated from family due to the virus.
"Being there for them, holding their hand," Altus said "Thankfully, Prisma Health was able to help us get iPads in the system so we were able to connect them with their loved ones, so they could hear each other’s voice and see each other.”
However, with no cure, the worse too often becomes a reality.
“We've actually had our Chaplin team come up and check on nurses on the unit because there is grief, there is mourning,” Altus said.
As cases continue to rise and fear of a second surge looms, Altus asks the public to remain vigilant.
"I mean, I'm very worried for the holidays. It's still here, and it's not going anywhere," Altus said. "I just always say limit any gatherings. Make sure you're adhering to the social distancing, masks, hand hygiene. Make sure, if you do gather together as a family, (gather) outside, six feet apart. If you are able to, do a Zoom dinner ... and still connect and talk with your families, but just be very, very careful.”