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Local COVID survivor : "Somebody needs to know"

A Utica COVID survivor says people need to know just what hospital staff members are going through right now during what is now the height of the pandemic.

Posted: Jan 12, 2021 6:52 PM

Utica, N.Y. - There was a big wave of support last spring and summer for the nurses, doctors and other hospital staff members who put themselves in danger everyday to care for others during COVID. Now, thanks to a local COVID survivor, there may once again be a push for people to show their appreciation now as we go through this second wave.

Barbara Lambright, who lives in East Utica, is now back home. Her Christmas tree still up, her presents still underneath.

Lambright's Christmas was put on hold on December 23rd, when she tested positive for COVID.

She went into St. Elizabeth Medical Center that day, admitted for the night and was released the next day, told to quarantine at home and as a result couldn't see her family for the holidays.

Barbara says her breathing got so bad that on January 4th she called her primary care doctor who said get to the ER immediately.

Barbara was admitted that day and says at one point during her hospital stay her breathing got even worse, so bad that she didn't think she'd ever make it back home.

She did. She was released on Sunday, January 10th to continue her recovery at home.

The next morning she called to see if I was interested in doing a story. She wanted to know if we could get her message across. A message of thank you to the doctors and nurses who cared for her, gave her hope, and got her well enough to go home, she says someone needs to know what these men and women are going through right now, "I wanna say thank you from the bottom of my heart, I can breathe, you were everything to me. I don’t wanna cry. If you think that this isn’t real, oh my God, please God, I hope no one ever gets this."

MVHS Registered Nurse Deb Graziano says hearing that kind of appreciation is very much appreciated, "Stress level is high for COVID nursing but we appreciate it. There's been a lot of outpouring of community support, different restaurants have sent us food. We had a 4th grade class today, I'm not sure what school, sent us a box of snacks and drinks and that always boosts morale."

Graziano admits it is a struggle for the staff as capacity gets fuller and fuller.

She says she wasn't surprised to hear that Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, just today, reached capacity and had to turn trauma patients away, "It's believable now, I didn't believe it last spring, I believe it now. We still have space so we just do the best you can with what you have."

When asked how close to capacity MVHS is, MVHS Spokesperson Caitlin McCann said, "We are working to expand capacity again, so I can't give exact numbers, but we are close to being full."

Barbara Lambright says her heart goes out to the men and women on the front lines who continue to battle this fight as the COVID numbers seem to just keep getting worse, "It’s not even like there's an end to it for them right now and that’s what's so sad. I mean yeah, the vaccine will get out, we'll get it, we'll do what we’re supposed to do, but you've got to remember these people, they’re just every day people that you would see in the grocery store and someone may say, oh well she’s a nurse, she’s a nurse, no, she’s an angel from heaven."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2392060

Reported Deaths: 55066
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings31909610743
Queens30607510153
Suffolk2281703519
Nassau2071043257
Bronx2021556693
New York1619224606
Westchester1409342328
Erie992591884
Richmond858401905
Monroe782541156
Orange54619887
Rockland50943769
Onondaga45981715
Dutchess33827485
Albany28513368
Oneida25899552
Niagara22183383
Broome21898385
Saratoga18468191
Ulster16373271
Schenectady15325216
Rensselaer13364154
Putnam1187096
Chautauqua10980157
Oswego9667101
Chemung9112146
St. Lawrence8975118
Ontario856998
Steuben8489160
Cayuga7942101
Sullivan782781
Jefferson752171
Wayne701378
Cattaraugus675098
Genesee6097131
Herkimer6030117
Tompkins597459
Clinton571634
Madison542698
Fulton532197
Livingston520467
Montgomery5112133
Cortland484070
Warren472576
Columbia4664108
Tioga443467
Chenango421286
Otsego417751
Allegany403893
Greene397283
Washington396763
Wyoming392354
Orleans367784
Franklin356416
Lewis321836
Delaware309041
Seneca248959
Schoharie208320
Essex195129
Yates140726
Schuyler128916
Hamilton4083
Unassigned13533
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