With the pandemic nearing two years and the U.S. facing another surge in COVID-19 cases, the chief nursing officer at Downers Grove-based Advocate Aurora Health admits health care workers are tired, saying they're experiencing fatigue and an "emotional drain."
As a result, the health system placed a call to action in Sunday newspapers across Illinois and Wisconsin, pleading with residents to get vaccinated.
The advertisement begins with "We can't stop COVID without you," in a large font, taking up nearly half a page of the one-page ad.
"Beds are full. Wait times are long," the ad continues. "And the strain on our health care team, undeniable. The doctors, nurses and countless others who have so skillfully and compassionately cared for our communities are hurting..."
Also noted in the ad, Advocate Aurora says more than 90% of its patients hospitalized for COVID-19 are either unvaccinated or due for a booster shot.
"If you are vaccinated, the likelihood of needing hospitalized is dramatically down, that’s the message I’d like to get out there," said Mary Beth Kingston, the health system's chief nursing officer said.
In approximately just another week, on Jan. 3, vaccine mandates will take effect in both Chicago and suburban Cook County as local officials attempt to help curb the spread of the virus.
Both customers and employees will be required to show proof of full vaccination to enter dining facilities, event spaces, recreational and entertainment venues.
Employees can submit a weekly negative COVID test in place of getting the vaccine. But patrons will be required to either show their vaccine card, a photo of it or through an official health app.
Although businesses don't have to check for proof of vaccination this Friday, leaders are urging people to reconsider plans for New Year's celebrations.
"We're looking at a very difficult winter if influenza increases and this surge continues," Kingston said.