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Arizona healthcare workers try to stay positive on holidays despite pandemic worries

Arizona healthcare workers try to stay positive on holidays despite pandemic worries
Posted at 11:59 AM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 13:59:09-05

Rather than gathering around the dinner table, many healthcare workers are on the front lines this Thanksgiving.

At Valleywise Health Medical Center, nurse Kate McDermott said Thanksgiving Day at the ER started off slower, much like it is traditionally, aside from those showing up with coronavirus symptoms.

"We have COVID this morning," McDermott said. "We have a lot of concerned patients, especially when they're thinking about being around family, being concerned that they have any symptoms. People are kind of on high alert."

McDermott said spirits are high despite working on a holiday in the middle of a pandemic.

"It's never easy to work the holidays in the sense of being away from your families and friends," she said. "But I'm in my ninth year working here, so you really build a family of your own at work. Especially this year, given everything that we're kind of battling together."

She is one of many healthcare workers on the job through the holidays. In Arizona, 6,568 people have died from COVID-19, according to the state's dashboard.

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"I'm thankful that [my] kids are good, I'm good, I'm thankful that we have a vaccine coming," said Valleywise Health Emergency Physician Dr. Frank Lovecchio, who is working this week.

Dr. Lovecchio says he contracted COVID-19 in July, much like other healthcare workers around the country.

"It's really nice to say we're putting ourselves at risk," he said. "I think on the front lines you sign up a little bit for that."

Despite a trying year, McDermott says she is thankful.

"I'm thankful I have a job," she said. "I know sometimes it's a harder job than others. There's harder moments, especially right now . It's been a hard year to be in healthcare. But when I look around and I see that there's a lot of people who are struggling with that, I'm thankful that I have a job. I'm thankful for my health."

She also said the pandemic has given fresh perspective.

"I think when there's hard times it also makes you focus on what's also good and you kind of appreciate the good that you have a little bit more," she said.