PIKEVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — COVID hospitalization numbers have started to drop in and around Pike County.
While that might seem like a good sign, the fight is nowhere near finished.
LEX 18 tried to get a look at what's going on inside Pikeville Medical Center's COVID unit. We were not allowed inside but instead, we spoke with a nurse who has worked in the unit.
"It was almost like it was overnight," said Laura Gevedon, regarding the most recent wave of the virus. "We went from one COVID unit to opening up in overflow. I mean it was literally like it was overnight."
"You know you're a good nurse and you're a good person," she says. "There's just nothing you can do. That's been the hardest part."
But she has done everything in her power to help treat the influx of COVID-19 patients.
"It was just overwhelming," she says. "Within days we were overwhelmed."
"The hardest part is feeling like you can't control it," she added. "It just happens over, and over, and over, and you feel like a failure even though you've done everything. It just keeps happening."
She tries to stay strong. One of the hardest parts is spending so much of her time in the hallways and rooms of the unit and losing patients she has tried too hard to give a breath of fresh air.
"When their families couldn't be there, we were there," she says. "When the doctors were in the room, we were there. When nobody else is there, we were there. Holding their hand and talking to them."
Thinking about the patients and the uphill battle shows Gevedon's compassion and humanity.
"You go home and can't really turn it off," she says. "Because you're worried about them. You can't stop thinking about them. It's really stressful."
According to the Kentucky Department of Public Health, 92 percent of patients in Kentucky hospitals from March through the end of September are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated. Gevedon says once unvaccinated patients come in, the ones who leave -- do so with a different outlook.
"They all say they wish they got the vaccine," she says.
For anyone on the outside not taking the virus seriously, there's a message.
"Think of all the medical bills, the missed work, who is going to watch your kids," she says. "It's not just being in the hospital for a few days. That's what people think. Worst case scenario, going to be in the hospital for a few days, what's the worst thing that can happen to me? Worst thing is death."