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How Essentia nurses prepare for COVID-19 spread

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DULUTH, MN-- Nurses are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic caring for patients, the community and themselves.

COVID-19 is something new, even for the experienced.

"Nurses by training are always vigilant and prepared," says Essentia Health nurse Chris Rubesch.

Rubesch has been a nurse for four years in Essentia's telemetry unit and is a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

He says he's never seen anything like this, and extra precautions are being taken.

“Right now there is a lot of tension. A lot of staff are on heightened alert as we’d expect," he says.

Rubesh also told us he feels confident Essentia has prepared them to care for COVID-19 patients.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought some uncertainty for nurses, especially if there will be enough personal protective supplies, like masks and gloves.

Rubesch says, “We haven’t really seen large volumes of patients as they have in other parts of the state. As nurses, we have raised those concerns to management. And management has assured us they have teams in place and robust disaster response plan.”

As part of nursing contracts with Essentia, Rubesch says they are able to have conversations on what they're seeing on the floor and make adjustments as needed.

Rubesch also added that hospital management has been consistently giving nurses updates and guidelines from the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health.

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Emma Quinn

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