San Diego nurse gives glimpse into ICU amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 12:30 AM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 09:27:09-05

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - Not much has changed since early December for Adrienne Donovan in terms of what she's experiencing at work.

Donovan is a lead nurse at Sharp Grossmont, serving in the frontlines against COVID-19 since the pandemic started. Since the so-called holiday surge happened, it hasn't shown any signs of tapering off.

"At Grossmont, we are at overflow. ICU is at max capacity, so instead of our usual two ICUs open, we still have three full ICUs functioning," Donovan said.

At a news conference Thursday, San Diego County officials say they've administered more than 269,000 doses of the vaccine, surpassing a goal to give out a quarter of a million by the end of the month. They also say the case rates are trending in the right direction.

"Probably two weeks ago, our adjusted case rate was 70, then the next week it was close to 60, this week it was less than 50," Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County Public Health Officer, said.

Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the state's stay-at-home order, which loosened the restrictions on certain businesses.

"Not even a week ago, we were saying how death tolls are at the highest they've been at the start. Now we're getting these mixed messages saying it's okay to go out and do things, but I'm personally not seeing it in the hospitals. It's very, very full," Donovan said. "Lots of sick patients, lots with COVID. I mean, over half of our ICU is still COVID at this point."

Donovan says she and other healthcare workers hope that they start to see the situation improve in the coming days.

"We're all hoping that this giant peak we hit a week or two ago is left over from the Christmas holiday surge," she said. "it will hopefully trend down, but as things reopen up, I don't know if it will trend down."

Donovan says she and other nurses that want to get vaccinated have received the shot. But their workload hasn't eased.

"When I am at work, it's extremely stressful, extremely depressing, way more death that I've seen in my 12 years of nursing," she said. So she's asking that people think of their loved ones and frontline workers during this time.

"Be gracious and be extra careful; think about what you do before you do anything," she said.