Community members called upon to shine a light on Oklahoma City nurses and their tireless effort in the battle against COVID-19

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Chaplain Kevin Deegan hugs registered nurse Connie Carrillo at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles on Feb. 17, 2021. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Nurses are fighting on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19, and they deserve our gratitude for their tireless work and constant sacrifices. And tonight, we have the opportunity to express that gratitude.

INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center at 3300 NW Expressway, in Oklahoma City, is hosting a ‘Love a Nurse Shine the Light’ event at 8:30 p.m. tonight, Saturday, Aug. 21.

Hospital personnel invite community members to drive to the hospital’s main entrance and around the parking lot, and shine their headlights and honk their horns to let nurses and other healthcare workers know how much they are appreciated.

The Oklahoma Nurses Association is calling upon all Oklahomans to join in by shining their lights at local hospitals and at home.

“The event is meant to not only uplift and empower Oklahoma nurses and health care workers, but to establish a forum to bring much-needed awareness to the public about what is happening right now within nursing, and to engage our communities in supporting them,” said Brooke Cayot, INTEGRIS Communications Manager. “The hope is to bring nurses and the public together for support, understanding and to send a message that nurses matter!”

Hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients in recent weeks.

The highly contagious Delta variant has ignited a COVID-19 surge across Oklahoma and throughout the nation.

Chaplain Kevin Deegan hugs registered nurse Connie Carrillo at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles on Feb. 17, 2021. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Oklahoma State Department of Health officials reported on Friday that there were 1,487 people in Oklahoma hospitals with COVID-19 on average over the past three days. Officials also noted that there were 56 pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 within that number.

KFOR spoke with hospital personnel on Friday about healthcare workers are doing all they can to keep up with the massive increase of COVID patients.

“We don’t have the physician staff. We really don’t have the nursing staff to take care of all the patients. We have lost a lot of nurses,” Dr. Cameron Mantor, OU Health Acting Chief Medical Officer, told KFOR. “We are stretched. Our emergency rooms are full. People are waiting. We can’t get ambulances to transfer patients.”

Nicole West, a Mercy Hospital ICU nurse, says the worsening COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on nurses, including herself.

“We’re supposed to be that rock for people in their worst moments. Now we’re the ones struggling,” West said. “I have weekly therapy sessions and antidepressants to help.”

OSDH officials believe there were 20,483 active cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma as of Friday.

The state has had 524,376 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,957 COVID-related deaths since March of 2020, OSDH officials reported Friday.

Top Oklahoma doctors urge Oklahomans to fight the pandemic by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and by wearing face masks when in public.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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