‘It’s played a big part of my life’: SMGC nurses reflect on year of pandemic

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 6:19 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - 365 days ago, the first positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed at South Georgia Medical Center.

Over the last 365 days, WCTV has shared the stories of how COVID-19 has changed lives, communities and businesses, but arguably none more than frontline healthcare workers.

Even as the first positive case was confirmed at SGMC, they told WCTV that they had no idea the things they would see and go through over the next year.

Now, as cases are just a quarter of what they were during the virus’ peak, they say they can see the light, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

“Mentally, physically, emotionally draining. Yes, draining. What a year it has been, something we had never expected that it would last this long. But we’re stronger because of it, I feel like,” said Amber Cowart, RN.

Amber Cowart and Grace Stewart are two nurses at SMGC who have spent the last year fighting COVID-19 on the front lines, seeing loss, confusion and challenges they never imagined.

“You start to have to help them sleep, and you have to make sure the windows are up to make sure they know what’s daytime and nighttime,” explained Cowart.

But still today, there are patients who need help.

“Just had a family member come talk to her through the window, put a phone up to her ear to say her last words. So it’s still happening, it might not be in abundance,” Stewart added.

22 COVID-19 patients remain at SGMC.

For those families, nurses say it’s important to say vigilant and to stay safe.

“It’s played a big part of my life, and I really, I let the sunshine in and it’s time for a change, it’s time for renewal. Spring is here, so we’re hopeful,” added Cowart.

We’re not at zero, but COVID-19 hospitalizations are significantly down in Tallahassee.

At Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and and Capital Regional Medical Center, collectively there are 19 COVID-19 patients, down from 150 during the pandemic’s peak.

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