Nurses hold vigil outside NY Presbyterian to honor COVID victims amid 'tripledemic' surge

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Wednesday, December 14, 2022
NY nurses hold vigil for COVID victims amid 'tripledemic' surge
Nurses gathered outside New York Presbyterian Hospital to pay tribute to those who fell victim to COVID. Lucy Yang has more on the vigil and the strain the 'tripledemic' is putting on hospitals.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Hospitals and health care workers are being pushed to the max in New York as the so-called 'tripledemic' leads to a surge in flu, COVID and RSV cases.

About 100 nurses gathered in the cold night air outside New York Presbyterian Hospital Tuesday night to remember and honor those health care colleagues who died during the pandemic while trying to save others from COVID.

Nurse Anna Czarny recalls how Peter Chin worked the morning shift and pressed on until he could no longer.

"I remember him having a terrible cough but still truck through that shift. The next day he was not at work," Czarny said.

Nurse Romeo Agtarap came out of retirement only to lose his life.

Despite the availability of vaccines and better treatment and a return to some normalcy, COVID has not disappeared.

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In fact, New Jersey reported 23 COVID deaths on Tuesday, the most since February. New York reported 98 deaths in the last three days.

Hospitals are once again overwhelmed.

In Mississippi, patients are being transferred out of state, while the University of New Mexico Hospital is building a triage tent outside.

"We are seeing lots of very sick patients, lots of patients on the ventilators in the ICU," said Dr. Steve McLaughlin of University of New Mexico Health.

Compounding the problem is that it's not just COVID this winter. Health experts are concerned about the COVID, flu and RSV tripledemic.

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Nurses at New York Presbyterian tell Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang that the pediatric emergency department is filling up at an alarming rate.

"It's like the population flipped. Instead of adults, it's the pediatric population affected," said Aretha Morgan, who works in the pediatric emergency department. "We lost two children, two weeks ago due to RSV."

For nurses who still feel burned out from COVID, sadly, there is no time to exhale. Not with so many children now in need of emergency beds.


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