LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The drastic increase in COVID-19 patients adds stress and heartbreak to nurses and doctors trying to keep people alive.
Mayo Clinic Health System reported that they are seeing more than 30 new COVID-19 patients needing care every day.
COVID unit nurse Gudrun Jobe said if things don't change, the staff might not be able to keep up with the demands of the pandemic.
"To say that we are stressed out at times would be an understatement," Gudrun said. "I've seen patients die."
Her surgical floor changed into a COVID unit and leaving work at home isn't an option for some trying to keep people healthy and alive during the pandemic.
"It's not just the patient," Gudrun said. "We're dealing with the families involved, too, and their heartbreak is at times our heartbreak."
Mayo Clinic physicians agree that if the trend doesn't change, things will get worse.
"We will see not only deaths from COVID but we'll se deaths from other medical issues that we're not able to address because we're concentrated on COVID going forward," Family Medicine Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald said. "And that's what's really waking us up in the middle of the night."
Cancer surgery is an example of essential care that might not be available because of limited staff and hospital beds in La Crosse.
"We can only do so much and I just hope that the community understands that we're doing our part but we need their help," Gudrun said. "We can't do it without them helping us and by helping us I mean wear your mask, social distance and don't go places that you don't have to go."