Bay Area healthcare workers describe latest round of COVID burnout

Some Bay Area healthcare workers said they’re dealing with another round of COVID burnout as they manage a surge of cases driven by the delta variant.

"We are a lot like all the other humans who are tired about COVID and talking about COVID," said Stanford Intensive Care Unit Physician Dr. Angela Rogers.

It has been an exhausting 18 months for doctors like Dr. Rogers. She works in the ICU at Stanford treating COVID patients.

As she watches COVID cases climb once again at her hospital, she thinks about how it could have been prevented.

"It feels like we don't have to be here," said Dr. Rogers. "We don’t have to be here if everyone would trust the science and everyone who could get the vaccine medically would. Then, everyone would be protected. It does feel worse and harder this time around."

Throughout the Bay Area, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 spiked dramatically shortly after the state reopened its economy.

"We went from about five cases at the time of reopening per day to about 40 cases," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist. "That’s an eight times increase and we've been hovering over 40 cases on average for the last month or so."

At UCSF where Dr. Chin-Hong works, the hospital requested 200 traveling nurses to help with staffing. The hospital said unfortunately, those nurses are in high demand elsewhere.

"It just seems like a grind every day, in and out," said Dr. Chin-Hong.

On Facebook, Regional Medical Center in San Jose posted a video of its healthcare workers and the pandemic’s toll.

"There’s a deeper level of sadness this time," said Dr. Rogers. "It’s not just the virus. It’s partly, we as a society didn’t control it."

Dr. Rogers said the hardest part has been seeing her patients suffer with regret.

"A lot of our patients even when they started to get symptoms would quickly get vaccinated as they started to feel ill, that’s definitely not advised," said Dr. Rogers.