Filipino ICU doctors and nurses on working the frontlines during the pandemic

JERSEY CITY, NJ — They are a part of a small community of healthcare workers in a big city on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

Filipino nurses and doctors at Christ Hospital in Jersey City have seen more than their fair share of this deadly virus. Their hospital has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Mae Manuyag recalled what it was like in the first few weeks of the pandemic.

“A lot of things happening, patients coding here and there like all at the same time. By the end of the day, we felt so devastated how come we cannot help all of these patients. What’s happening to them? So it was like very very depressing for all us.”

Registered nurse Zenaida Kasilag Reyes shared with ABS-CBN News last month the devastating toll the pandemic has brought to all ICU staff.

“Since we spoke, it has become just a little bit easier but still emotional almost everyday that we come in.”

But like most hospitals in the garden state, they are making some progress.

“We’re giving our patients every best option that we can give them and we just try everything. And we read something that is gonna help, we try them. And the team they really come together,” said CEO Marie Mayo Duffy.

Duffy shared with us these images of how medical workers are treating COVID-19 patients using proning and most recently an ECMO treatment.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced May 14 some plans to slowly reopen beaches and lakefronts, and nonessential business for curbside pickups starting next week.

But some healthcare workers are not too eager to welcome the reopening.

“We still have the people that we’re here from the beginning. But when we lose them quickly that’s hard, especially at a young age. When they’re younger, it hit me more so than ever,” said Jeanie Aquino.

“There’s still a lot of people still getting sick, there’s still a lot of people that are very sick. I think we still need a lot of good evidence-based data and studies to figure out how best to treat the virus, and how best to keep it from happening again, and prevent it from coming back,” said Dr. Joseph Constantino.

New Jersey has more than 1200 new COVID 19 cases from Wednesday to Friday with 244 new deaths bringing the total of COVID-19 fatalities in the state to 10,000.

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