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Are you afraid? COVID nurse: not anymore

Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 4:27 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A nurse who frequently works on Samaritan Medical Center’s COVID-19 unit says she’s seen treatment of the virus steadily improve.

“We’ve certainly learned a lot about the virus over the last few months,” said Ami Mitteer.

“I think we’ve come a long way in learning how to treat the virus and get the patients progressing towards going home.”

7 News spoke with Mitteer 10 days ago, just before Jefferson County began breaking records for new cases, and reporting significantly more deaths.

She told us the hospital has plans in place for a surge in cases, and is as ready as it can be.

And after 10 months of the pandemic, Mitteer said she is no lo longer afraid.

“Not anymore, to be perfectly honest. I’ve taken care of these patients consistently,” she said.

“You know, we’ve protected ourselves well, managed to keep ourselves healthy, our families healthy and I feel like we’re ready to fight the battle.”

Still, Mitteer acknowledged COVID-19 is an awful, formidable illness.

“I think the worst of it is watching the patients go through it alone.

“Normally they have a support person or family member. Right now, that’s not possible. They’re sick, they’re scared, and it’s difficult doing that alone,” she said.

So nurses have stepped in, trying to be a connection between patients and their families.

“We talk over the phone quite frequently, help patients to communicate with their family, keep people updated. I found that process to be easier than expected,” she said.

One thing that is not easy: having to constantly put on and take off personal protective equipment.

“That is one of the most challenging parts of it, constantly taking things off, putting it back on even just to go in and hand a patient a glass of water, but it’s certainly necessary,” Mitteer said.

Most of all, Mitteer looks forward to the day the COVID unit is no longer needed.

“I’ll be grateful,” she said.

“For everyone, going forward to be healthy and well - and no longer scared.”

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