Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Friday urged Americans to ”show kindness” to healthcare workers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic amid a surge in hostility, threats and violence from patients angry over safety rules, Mediaite reports.
”Your healthcare workers are giving every ounce of what they have to be there, to leave their families,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor. ”They’re worried about everybody, but they’re there for us. And they’re doing the best job possible. And some of what we see in return is not the best of America. It’s not the best that Alaskans have to offer.”
Two hospitals in Alaska have rationed care as the state deals with a spike in coronavirus cases.
The state’s case count has increased by 72% in the past two weeks, the highest in the country, as it tops state case and death records, and the healthcare infrastructure is overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and has nowhere to put them. There are just 130 ICU beds in the state, or 1.8 per 10,000 people.
Alaska has fully vaccinated half of its population.
”We are a state that has limited capacity. We’ve got a smaller population, obviously, but that also means that we have fewer hospitals. We have more limited means in terms of our ability to care for those who have become very, very sick,” Murkowski said.
”It is really maxing out our hospitals to levels that we really just could not have even anticipated could happen.”
Beds ”are hard to find” and the health workers ”can’t get enough help,” she added.
Jason Straziuso, a media representative for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told MedPage Today in mid-September there was a rise in cases of violence and harassment when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, ”and such cases continue to this day.”
”This puts healthcare workers in harm’s way and under increased stress at a time when they are sorely needed, in particular in COVID-19 hot spots.”