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Nurses encouraged by day of zero Covid deaths

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    BOSTON (WBZ) — Emergency room nurse Kathy Reardon is feeling a little less stress on the job these days, especially the day after Massachusetts reported no new COVID deaths. “To see that number zero is just incredible,” said Reardon. “I attribute that to people paying attention doing what they’re supposed to do and getting vaccinated.”

For ICU nurse and President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association Katie Murphy, the news was a mixture of emotion and grief for lives lost. “After looking at 13 months of suffering and death, to feel this is possibly behind us,” said Murphy.

But the frontline workers are looking for a trend, not a number. That includes nurse Karen Richard who works in a COVID unit. “The burnout is very real, there’s been no break for us,” said Richard.

The concern is the lasting impact of treating COVID cases on nurses even as the landscape has changed somewhat. The patients are fewer, they are often younger, and getting discharged sooner compared to months ago.

“A lot of sounds, a lot of lights, people rushing, doctors running, ambulances bringing in people one after another,” said Murphy recalling the situation months ago.

Kathy Reardon now says the downward trending numbers are a “relief that is helping mental health. That we’re going to get through this, we’re in the home stretch.”

In Massachusetts the numbers continue trending downward, but the nurses who’ve experienced a year like no other, are wary of being too optimistic.

“We’re not out of the woods in any way,” said Karen Richard.

Katie Murphy wants to see how the trends go. “If a patient doesn’t have a fever for an hour we don’t say okay all better.”

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