Cincinnati Healthcare Workers Endure Abuse During Pandemic
A local public health official said Cincinnati hospital employees are facing “physical violence, vile words, and downright cruel behavior.”
CINCINNATI — For many U.S. hospitals, the days of praise and words of encouragement for healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic are long gone, having been replaced by violence and words of anger. This is the case for Cincinnati-area hospitals.
In a LinkedIn post on Monday, Christa Hyson, a local public health official and spokesperson for the Health Collaborative, said hospitals in the area have had to increase security as healthcare workers continue to endure “physical violence, vile words, and downright cruel behavior.”
“In March, April and May of 2020, my inbox and voicemail was flooded with offers for food, PPE (personal protective equipment) donations, and thank you cards for health care Workers. the public clapped, planes flew overhead, and people did their part and stayed home,” she wrote. “Now? Angry calls, physical violence, misinformation spreading like wildfire, and a refusal to accept evidence-based solutions as fact.”
Hyson says the Delta Variant is overwhelming the healthcare system and many are working with a fraction of the staff they had last year. On June 14, the area’s hospitals had 62 COVID patients, with 26 in intensive care and 26 on ventilators. This past Sunday, there were 521 patients, with 145 in intensive care and 115 on ventilators. More detailed data can be found on the collaborative’s situational dashboard.
While Hyson told The Enquirer she was not at liberty to discuss specific incidents at hospitals or what additional safety measures have been implemented, UC Health spokesperson Amanda Nageleisen stated, “We can attest that our providers and team members are experiencing a more hostile environment than in the past – a change from early on in the pandemic. As hospitals continue to experience an ever-growing number of patients seeking care, we ask everyone to show patience and kindness.”
In addition to a significant increase in COVID-19 patients, earlier this month, Hyson also said emergency departments have been inundated with asymptomatic patients seeking COVID-19 tests.
“They’re coming in for a lot of reasons,” she said. “To make sure they can play that sport, make sure they can go on that school trip, attend a concert, things like that.”
According to a survey conducted in July by Cincinnati-based Interact for Health, one in four people in the region want the COVID-19 vaccine but haven’t gotten it or are undecided. Hyson encourages those who are not vaccinated to “make sure to receive vaccine information from evidence-based sources – not unverified social media accounts.”
Asymptomatic patients in the Cincinnati area are encouraged to get tested at one of many no-cost facilities, which can be found here. A list of Cincinnati area COVID-19 vaccine sites can also be found here.