SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Dr. Alicia Mikolaycik Gonzalez rushes through the Emergency Room greeting healthcare staff.
While she knows her routine around the the back of her hand.
Gonzalez said facing the COVID-19 pandemic was a different story.
“I think the craziest thing for us this year honestly has been how much was unknown. At the beginning we didn’t know if we were going to have a huge influx of patients or was it going to be very slow. We didn’t know even how the disease was contagious or not,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez along with all healthcare professionals at Marian Regional Medical Center said another challenge about the pandemic was its unpredictability. “Some days there was nothing to do when everybody was in lock down. And then on other days we never sat down. Then we would go from very sick patient to another, and that was really exhausting for people.”
Gonzalez said sometimes the workload would get so heavy several ICU doctors would be here for 24 hours in a row.
“Over the course of the year it has been an incredible educational experience for us, to learn about the disease, and to learn about better ways to take care of people that have it. It was much like when HIV emerged about 25 years ago,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chuck Merrill at Marian Regional Medical Center.
As the pandemic continues, Merrill hopes to continue to care for all patients. "Not just for COVID-19 patients, but for everything. We’re very proud of the fact that nobody has come to the hospital and gotten sick from COVID."
"We’re watching young healthy people come in, for example, and if we were not here, they would’ve died and they didn’t. So as hard as it has been to go through this year, and as burned out as we feel, the meaning is really there," said Gonzalez.