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Sentara Healthcare workers urge you to get vaccinated as hospitals are filled

Frontline healthcare workers at Sentara Hospitals in Hampton Roads say most of their COVID-19 patients regret not getting vaccinated sooner.

NORFOLK, Va. — "We're tired," Claresa Sanchez, the patient care supervisor for Sentara Virginia Beach General said on Tuesday morning. "Nurses are tired. The emergency department has been getting crushed. They're tired."

Four Sentara Healthcare workers are asking for your help.

"We want to continue to fight for Hampton Roads and all of your loved ones, but I want to urge you to speak to your doctors and get vaccinated," said Sentara Norfolk General Hospital ICU Nurse Manager Lucy Vinson.

Dr. Michael Genco is the Chief Medical Officer for Sentara Obici Hospital. He said the hospital is over its capacity.

"We're seeing a greater need from our traditional inpatient population but we're also seeing a greater need from our COVID population," Dr. Genco said.

Healthcare workers said COVID-19 patients on ventilators are getting younger and younger while their stay at the hospital is getting longer and longer.

"Probably about a month to two months in the hospital dealing with this illness," Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital Respiratory Therapist Bea Barajas-Williams said.

The healthcare workers said that most aren't vaccinated.

On a personal level, it gets harder every day.

"We work with them, we talk with them," Barajas-Williams explained. "We develop a relationship with these patients and then we follow them throughout the trajectory of their illness and that's really heartbreaking."

Patients who haven't gotten a COVID-19 vaccine tell staff members they regret it. It's a message they're passing along.

"Don't wait until you get it to decide that you want to get the vaccine," Dr. Genco said. "Don't wait until one of your family members or loved ones has gotten it and you've seen what they've gone through."