Riverside Community Hospital has seen such an alarming rate of COVID hospitalizations they had to call for reinforcements.
“I’ve been a nurse for 33 years and have not seen anything of this nature in my lifetime,” says Annette Greenwood, the chief nursing officer.
A National Guard Regional Strike Team answered the call.
“The team consists of Air National Guard and Army National Guard from all over the State of California the team was very excited to come out here and to help Riverside with the COVD surge in the emergency department,” says the officer in charge, Lt. Colonel Gabrielle Dorais, RN, with the Air National Guard.
“I got a lot of cheers from our staff and a lot of thank the Lord,” says Greenwood.
The team is made up of a registered nurse who is the officer in charge, six medics and administrative helper, and in true military fashion, these troops are getting the job done.
“They were able to jump against COVID and help alleviate the surge of patients coming in to the ER,” says Dorais.
“These folks just jumped in 110 percent were able to really start to off load ambulances and care for patients in that really tough, tight area where patients are coming for emergency care,” says Greenwood.
They arrived on December 22 as the tsunami of COVID patients from the Thanksgiving holiday began to overrun the hospital to the point where they’ve had to convert an old cafeteria, a recovery room, are building another area and adding tents to help process COVID patients.
Greenwood says it’s taking a toll on the staff, “We’re the family to these patients, we’re helping them into eternity sometimes and it is emotionally taxing, it is like a battlefield,” adding the staff are heroes who are doing everything they can to help the community, but it’s just not sustainable.
So having the extra help was everything.
“People outside of our four walls cared and cared enough to come into the battle with us … the emotional boost that it gave our team was just amazing … so our biggest gratitude and for their willingness to help us during this very difficult time for us,” says Greenwood.
Wednesday is their last day. But the battle continues for both teams.
“The next hospital that’s in need, the next one that is hurting from the surge of COVID and we will move on to there as soon as we reset ourselves and we’ll set out again,” says Dorais.
Greenwood is urging the the community to follow CDC guidelines and avoid getting and spreading the virus and especially avoid gatherings because if there’s another surge on top of this record surge, they will have to make tough decisions like ration care.