Nebraska’s rural healthcare workers stretched thin amid COVID vaccine rollout

Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff paid a visit to Memorial Community Hospital in Blair Tuesday
WOWT 6 News Live at 10
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff paid a visit to Memorial Community Hospital in Blair Tuesday. While the hospital’s CEO said it’s a boost to morale, this is also a staff very much exhausted.

“Our staff is tired,” said Manny Banner, President & CEO, Memorial Community Hospital. For more than a year now they’ve been battling back COVID-19.

From testing for the virus to caring for those with it, and now rolling out the vaccine.

“They have worked hard, they work extra, they do vaccination clinics, we still do TestNebraska,” said Banner. “So we’re stretched pretty thin.”

It’s not just those giving the shots, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

“My phone is typically ringing of the hook of people you know, ‘did I get signed up correctly, can reschedule my second dose?’,” said executive assistant, Kelsey Maas. “Everyone has had to jump out of their normal day-to-day job. There’s not saying ‘that’s not my job’ anymore.”

It’s bound to only get more demanding, they’ve been giving about 200 doses of the vaccine a week and it’s about to take a big jump.

“Now we’re also taking care of second doses, so this week will be our biggest vaccine clinic yet, we plan on giving 850 doses,” said Banner, noting eventually they will need more help. “I anticipate we will need more help. We have received some volunteer help.”

More volunteers could be coming down the pike.

“We’re seeing some retired nurses who now, that they’ve received their vaccine are saying, ‘oh, I’d love to come and help’,” said Banner.

Meanwhile, those who’ve been on the frontlines will continue to make it all work.

“It’s just been a lot,” said Mass. “Stuff at home has taken a bit of back burner, but thankfully I’ve got great support at home to help pick up the slack.”

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