'This wave is worse': Emergency room nurse warns about COVID-19 dangers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In her eight years of nursing, Julia Kristen has never seen anything like this.

"I just can't get over how bad it is," said Kristen, who is a registered nurse working in the emergency room of Einstein Hospital. "Just one after another patient coming in so sick."

She's working 72-hour weeks caring for some of the more than 5,400 Pennsylvanians currently hospitalized with Coronavirus.

Pennsylvanian's most recent numbers show a surge that's even bigger than the first wave of COVID earlier this year.

"This wave is worse. We have more people who are sick," said Kristen.

According to the latest figures, 1,115 people are in the ICU, where Governor Tom Wolf says beds are already running low across the state. Kristen sees the proof at her hospital.

"The hospital has been trying to open up different units to transition (patients) to have more ICU beds available," she said.

It's placed a growing demand on hospitals, leading Governor Wolf to make a plea on behalf of hospital workers.

"Doctors and nurses are fighting right now and they're asking for help," said Wolf in a virtual press conference. "The staff at hospitals have been doing everything in their power to protect is from COVID-19. We need to do the same for them."

Wolf is urging Pennsylvanians to stay at home and avoid hosting holiday gatherings. He says if residents must go out, they should always wear a mask. Not taking precautions could lead to another state-wide shutdown similar to what Pennsylvania experienced in the spring.

Wolf adds that if Pennsylvanians don't do their part to slow the spread of COVID, hospitals may have to turn away the sick

"The reality is that COVID-19 will overwhelm our hospitals and overwhelm our healthcare systems," said Wolf.

Kristen knows that the governor isn't exaggerating. She just hopes Pennsylvanians heed the warning to stay at home and avoid being around others no matter how tempting the urge may be.

"Stay away from everyone you love," she said, "because it might be the last time you see them."
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