MINNEAPOLIS — As families across the country gather to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, health care workers are on alert as hospitals in the Twin Cities continues to see a surge in RSV cases and other respiratory illnesses.
"A lot of RSV, influenza, some COVID as well, so we have a lot of kids that are coming in, difficulty breathing, high fevers and of course some other things," said Nicole Schmitz, a nurse practitioner in Children's MN Emergency Department.
Schmitz has been working in the ER at Children's MN for the past 18 years.
"We have a lot of people working, people who have picked up extra (shifts) to come in and help out on the holidays," she said. "It's great to be here and be able to help our patients and community."
Like Schmitz, Dr. Jon Fuerstenberg, lead intensivist at Allina Health’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s ICU, is spending part of the holiday on the job.
But he says it's all part of a days work.
"For the most part, it's a normal day," said Dr. Fuerstenberg."The ICU is where we take care of the sickest patients, so we have to have a full staff regardless of the day."
With families coming in to spend time with their loved ones in the hospital, staff find the time to celebrate the holiday away from home.
"There's a little bit of camaraderie on the holidays," said Dr. Fuerstenberg. "For example, the nurses tend to have feasts that they put together."
"We typically have a signup the week of Thanksgiving, where everyone will bring some food, and as breaks allow, people will go in and have some Thanksgiving meals," said Schmitz.
Even while spending the day away from family, these healthcare workers say they're thankful.
"I'm thankful for the people I work with, we have a great group of people," said Dr. Fuerstenberg.
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