YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This week, we are stopping to reflect on the changes we have all experienced over the past year. For local hospital workers, the past 12 months have been filled with all kinds of emotion — from pain to healing, sadness to joy. They have seen it all and are still going strong.
Three hundred and sixty five days of COVID-19 in the Valley.
“Wow, the whole year has passed. But then in another reflection, has it really been an entire year?” asked Mary Beth Crozier, a nurse manager at the medical ICU at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. “I remembered where I was sitting the night before total lockdown, kind of like with 9/11. I remember exactly where I was when I saw those planes hit the tower is how I compare when this pandemic started.”
Kevin Harris, a man from Warren who had the first confirmed case in the Valley, was just the fifth case in Ohio.
“Let me tell you, people are going to get sick and they’re going to start dying,” Harris said back on March 17, 2020.
As an ICU nurse manager, Crozier says her team has seen it all over the past year.
“We definitely had the sickest of the sick,” she said. “It’s definitely been a year of… we need to be in there for each other, getting everybody through this.”
Crozier says they survived it together — patients, families, doctors and nurses, fighting the virus every single day.
“We had our support, we had our PPE, but we had each other,” she said.
For all nurses and front line workers that look back on the year they’ve had, Crozier says it should bring pride.
“What more of a legacy than you came in, you took the challenge, you wore your armor?” she said.
But the battle against COVID-19 isn’t over just yet, so Crozier is pleading for the community to stay vigilant and follow health guidelines.
“To the person who complains, from somebody who’s seen the worst, you have your breath to complain. Some people don’t have their breath,” she said.
But we also can’t forget how hard we’ve worked and how far we’ve come.
“As we move forward, I’m just very encouraged by what we’re seeing now and also very thankful as we look back at the work that’s been done over the last year,” said Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer for Mercy Health Youngstown.
“Heed the warnings, keep on track, get vaccinated and you know what, let’s have a healthy 2021,” Crozier said.