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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

Frontline workers tackle second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with experience, support from one another

"Even when their glass is half empty they show up 100% because it's what they love to do," said ECMC Critical Care Nurse Christie Leas about her healthcare family.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — "I would be lying to you if I didn't tell you, it's a lot," said Erie County Medical Center Critical Care Nurse Manager Christie Leas.

Leas has worked at ECMC for nine years, she was promoted to critical care nurse manager in January just months before the pandemic hit. 

"On March 27, we converted my six bed ICU (intensive care unit) into a 12 bed COVID ICU," she said.

As of December 15, 10 of those 12 ICU beds are filled with COVID-19 patients at ECMC.

Though many things about the second wave of the virus is reminiscent of what her team went through in the spring, she said this time they have experience. With new treatments available, she said patients' hospitalizations are shorter than they were earlier this year. 

"The staff is dedicated to helping the community work through this crisis," she said. "They are sacrificing their personal lives and time with family to take care of their patients in need. Even when their glass is half empty they show up 100 percent because it's what they love to do."

Leas says though days can be long and exhausting, she says health care workers are like family and support each other through it. 

That is something Buffalo General Hospital's Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Pierce agrees with, he said he's blessed to be a part of such a supportive team.

"During the course of this year, I am extremely proud of the staff, front line, physicians, nurses, all the staff and all the people that have been through as much as they have been," he said.

When 2 On Your Side asked Leas where she finds her motivation to keep going, she said "We've had many patients leave and yeah their length of stay, I'm referring to spring, but their length of stay was lengthy, but they left and there is nothing that could be more rewarding than that."

At the end of the day, Leas said she wants you to know, "COVID is real, I know some people may believe it may not be but we see it every single day, we live this, we breathe this, COVID is real."

Credit: WGRZ