Riding the COVID Wave
Today marks the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) declared in January 2020 in response to the evolving COVID pandemic. Who could have imagined this would remain in effect for over three years? I remember setting up our first testing site and then expanding exponentially to the point we were doing hundreds of tests a day in multiple locations across several counties. Then came the vaccine - the effort to roll this out was terrific. In addition to smaller vaccine sites at community centers and churches, we opened mass clinics at convention centers serving over 1000 per day at times! Some more hope came with the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for monoclonal antibody (MAB) therapy targeted explicitly for the virus. We opened an infusion center specifically for these patients and grew to administer over 70 infusions in a 10-hour day! Over time the testing, vaccine, and infusion volumes slowed over time, and no more MAB was covered under the EUA. We are left with vaccines that have continued to evolve with the variants that sometimes seem to show up weekly!
Lockdowns, mandatory masking, homeschooling, and shifting the office workforce remote were some of the unprecedented changes we experienced throughout the pandemic. Some remain working remotely in a new normal for their career. Others have returned to office settings where masking has become optional following an extended period of mandates.
In my 35 years of healthcare experience, this was like nothing I had ever seen or any of us. The only possible comparison was the flu of 1903 which lasted a much shorter period. I am proud to have served in multiple RN roles during this crisis and am in awe of what we accomplished in our pandemic response.
Nurses were hailed as heroes, and 2020 was the year of the nurse. I like to think that these were the years of all roles in healthcare. We stood together, often facing seemingly impossible challenges, and powered through.
Here's to everyone that are Riding the COVID wave - may our journey ahead have smooth seas and following winds!