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Archive for September 15, 2021

Frustration grows among health-care workers U.S.’ least vaccinated state.

When you pull up to one small-town health clinic in a semi-rural area of West Virginia, the first clue of that is the police car parked outside.  

American health workers have been waging a two-front battle for a while: against COVID-19 and against the anger over pandemic measures within their own communities.

The second clue is the locked front door at the clinic, located inside the headquarters of the Berkeley County health department in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Angela Gray, a nurse at the Berkeley county health office says abusive calls and angry visitors have been routine.

There have been numerous reports of recent assaults on health workers from across the U.S., but they’re not the only ones who have been targeted. In Arizona, a parent was recently arrested for allegedly threatening to zip-tie a school principal and make a citizen’s arrest over a COVID quarantine protocol.

West Virginia is currently the least-vaccinated state in the U.S. by some yardsticks, with about half of adults fully vaccinated. 

Some of the unvaccinated residents have taken their frustration out on health workers, prompting the request for police presence at the Martinsburg clinic. Workers here say they have endured abusive calls; shouting visitors; and threatening online posts, some of which have included their home addresses and phone numbers.

In West Virginia, the COVID-19 caseload is 40 times what it was during the early-summer low; more than 200 people died in the state over the last month; hospitalizations, ICU admissions and use of ventilators all recently hit all-time peaks.

Health workers are upset and exhausted.

At the West Virginia University Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, Dr. Connie Smith says the last few weeks have been the hardest of the pandemic for some staff — including doctors, nurses, the hospital cleaning staff and security guards.

“It’s been very difficult,” said Smith, who is the centre’s director of infectious disease and employee health. 

“In a lot of ways, it’s more impactful than the first [wave last year]. Because people are more fatigued — both physically and emotionally.”

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