Many healthcare workers on the frontlines are fearing this spike in coronavirus hospitalizations.
News Channel 3’s Dani Romero has more on how this health crisis is taking a toll on the frontline workers.
“It's like a war zone and we're getting to this breaking point," said Erin Teran, a registered nurse. "It's very scary for us to see or to wonder what's going to be happening in the next week or two.”
It’s the second round of a nightmare healthcare workers hoped would end months ago.
"Maybe four weeks ago, there was a handful of COVID patients," said Dr. Nikki Mittal, a critical care pulmonologist for Riverside County Health Systems. "By the end of last week, the entire list of mine all of the patients that I had, which is a higher number than we usually even carry on a regular basis we're all COVID except for one.”
Frontline workers said its more than the horror of battling this cruel disease. Its the long hours, residual trauma and deaths that are taking a mental toll.
“The number of deaths has kind of has gone up rapidly and it's been just so, so hard," said Dr. Mittal. "I've cried. I go home a lot of days and cry.”
With ICU beds filling up, these care takers continue to be pushed to their limits.
Many nurses now struggling with the burden of higher nurse to patient ratios.
“By giving an ICU nurse three patients when they should have two is unsafe," said Kerry Cavazos, a registered nurse at Riverside Community Hospital. "Somebody is going to die not because we're walking out its because you're making the ratios of our nurses unsafe.”
But another possible nurse strike is looming at three Southern California hospitals on Christmas Eve.
Nurses said they’ll be walking out over the dangerous lack of COVID protections.
“If it comes to the fact that we strike it's over that same principle, we need staff, we need a break, we need PPE, and we need somebody to compassionately take care of the nurses," said Cavazos.
As healthcare workers continue to directly treat patients with COVID-19, they’re urging the public to do their part.
“Think about it as one of your family members , your grandmother your mother, your sister your brother because it could be you that loses somebody," said Toni Waer, a RUHS nurse.