MASON CITY, Iowa - MercyOne North Iowa is one of many hospitals dealing with a surge in COVID-19 patients.
"We are very, very full. We're on the fourth COVID unit we just opened up and then also the CCU (Critical Care Unit). So technically we have 5 units with COVID patients on it," said David Asche.
David Asche is in charge of three COVID units at MercyOne North Iowa. He says coronavirus patients are in constant need of monitoring.
"You walk down one of our units, you can hear oxygen beeping and someone going in there to check on that patient," he said.
It's a similar situation in the Critical Care Unit, where Emily Orton leads the close-knit staff of nurses. The job is stressful, so Orton makes sure her nurses get the relief they need.
"We keep track of when they take care of covid patients so we can give them a break. So they may take care of covid patients one week and try to give them a break the next and they would have non-covid patients," said Orton.
The outpouring of support from the community gives these exhausted workers something to smile about amidst a very tense environment.
"They've written cards to us. Those are really helpful. We hang them in the breakroom, so the nurses can read them," she said.
What they want most, if for everyone to heed the warnings and take the virus seriously.
"There's a sense of urgency and even nervousness around the hospital here because we know. We're obviously very busy right now surging, but usually 1 or 2 weeks after a holiday or a big event that occurs, we see another surge," said Asche.