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Health care workers encouraging the public to take COVID-19 seriously as cases rise

With rising cases of the novel coronavirus, Washington health care workers are hoping the public will embrace more restrictions to help combat the virus.

SEATTLE — During Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference Sunday announcing new coronavirus restrictions in Washington, Clint Wallace, a nurse in Spokane, put it bluntly.

“We've been in this pandemic for eight months and we are exhausted,” said Wallace.

It is a similar sentiment in Seattle, where frontline workers said they need the community’s help.

“It's hard for each and every one of us, but your health care workers need you to heed these warnings,” said Dr. Naomi Diggs, medical director at Swedish Medical Center.

Diggs said she understands the feelings of “pandemic fatigue,” but as COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the state, she said it is important to remain committed to the basics.

“I get that fatigue,” said Diggs. “Not only are we health care workers, we're parents, all right. I've got kids Zoom schooling… I miss going out to eat, you know. I miss seeing friends and family. We get the fatigue, we understand it.”

Washington state passed a record 2,000 positive COVID-19 cases in a day over the weekend. Inslee said the new restrictions would be to help keep hospitals steady.

“We don't want to be in a situation like we are seeing some of our other colleagues around the nation where no matter how prepared you are, the health care systems can be overwhelmed,” explained Diggs.

She added with the unknown of this virus, it is going to require some tough choices.

“Nobody wants to do Zoom Thanksgiving, right?” said Diggs. “Nobody wants to do Zoom Christmas, but these are the hard choices that we have to make this year in order to get us to that vaccine.”

Diggs encouraged people to get back to the basics of washing hands, wearing a mask and socially distancing, and said seeing first-hand the impact COVID-19 has had, she is pleading with everyone to take it seriously.

“There's no conspiracy here,” she said. “This is a real pandemic, we're in it.”