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GPH reflects on one year anniversary of first US COVID-19 case

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 12:54 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The world as we know it looks much different since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States, let alone for staff at Great Plains Health.

”Everyday changed, the CDC guidelines were essentially different every single day, the treatments at least in the beginning were all varying so rapidly, we couldn’t keep it up with it,” said Dr. Renee Engler, ER Co-Medical Director.

From ramping up testing, to personal protective equipment, and adding negative pressure rooms, it appears COVID-19 is here to stay.

“I remember very distinctly a conversation i had with a friend about how this will never hit Nebraska, it will never hit North Platte, and it will never be as deadly as the influenza, boy were we wrong,’ Dr. Engler said.

So far, more than 400,000 people have lost their lives in the US due to the virus. As of Wednesday, more than 186,7000 have tested positive for the virus in the Nebraska, including 1,961 deaths.

“In the beginning it was very fearful, we were worried about protecting ourselves, our staff, trying to see if we would even have enough to secure keeping our staff here at Great Plains Health safe, we learned a lot,” Dr. Engler said.

Health officials remain hopeful now that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are proving to be more than 90 percent effective if both doses are taken.

“You can still get COVID but you probably won’t get sick, but you can still make other people sick,” Dr. Engler said. “If we really want to get back to the new normal we really have to be vaccinated and my fear is that the community will think, “hey, I already had COVID I can’t get it again, I can’t spread COVID. We all need to work together to get back to normal.”

Until then, health officials strongly advise the public to continue wearing face masks, social distance and have good hand hygiene.

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