What 2 Houston ICU nurses want you to know about the impact of coronavirus

HOUSTON – Many healthcare workers are sacrificing so much to take care of the sick people in our area. Every single day they are seeing the impact the coronavirus is having on our community.

A lot of hospitals right now have special areas dedicated to critically ill COVID-19 patients. Nurses at Houston Methodist say they’re seeing something surprising among the sick.

“We’ve had people who don’t really have any underlying conditions or are otherwise moderately young and healthy and we see them here because they require increased oxygen support basically because of COVID,” said Carmina Anna Catalan, ICU nurse from Houston Methodist TMC.

“It’s not like, ‘Oh grandma is old and has all these health problems’, it’s not just thinking that she’s a vulnerable population, you don’t really know who will be severely impacted by it even if they seem young and healthy,” Catalan said.

Message for community to hear

Alexandra Carnahan and Carmina Anna Catalan say despite what we’ve been consistently told, sometimes patients are critically ill even without any real reason why. So they don’t want you to get complacent right now and back off of social distancing.

“That’s why I think everyone, everywhere now stay home even if you’re asymptomatic and healthy, even if you’re going out and being around healthy people because it’s everyone that’s affected especially people who don’t think they’ll get it,” said Alexandra Carnahan, an ICU nurse from Houston Methodist TMC.

As many experts warn about a resurgence of the illness when stay-home orders are lifted, Carnahan and Catalan say they’ve got their minds set to care for these patients for a long time and it’s coming at a big sacrifice for many like them.

“We have coworkers that haven’t been able to see their children. That is a huge, huge thing that I cannot even begin to grasp how hard that is for them,” Carnahan said.

“In my day-to-day life outside of work I’m acting like I could be positive,” Carnahan said. “And I’m taking all those special precautions and not seeing anyone that I don’t work with, not going to the grocery store, my boyfriends been bringing me groceries, dropping them off outside when I’m not home. So it’s, we just have to be so safe and taking care of us and the community is a part of that."

Right now in the Houston Methodist System, they are at 70% capacity in the ICU. There are 24 ICU beds at the Texas Medical Center campus and all of them are full.