Take a look inside a COVID-19 floor at UMass Memorial Medical Center

A trip down the hallway at UMass Memorial Medical Center will take you past equipment and hardware, personal protective equipment and sanitation workstations.

“We’ll take you through bed one and take you all the way to bed 36,” said Joel Masley, a respiratory therapist at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

And that equipment and those workstations make an extremely busy COVID-19 floor swarming with staff seem even smaller.

“Nothing is even comparable to this,” said Masley, who has been a respiratory therapist for 44 years. “It’s unexplainable […] new for everybody here.

The ICU is working at 140% capacity while operating rooms have been converted to take on coronavirus patients.

“On an ongoing basis we’ve adapted each day and we are doing what we have to do to get through this,” said Masley.

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Hundreds of patients helped day by day, hour by hour while ‘PRONE’ teams help to flip and position patients fighting the virus.

Staff is covered head to toe in PPE, looking like a scene from a sci-fi movie.

“If they are awake – it’s probably very intimidating…very scary,” Masley said about the patients.

Which is why, during that trip down the hall, you will pass caregivers with their picture pinned to their lab coats. A photo to portray the person behind the mask, a display of humanity; something these workers have given and received.

“Everyone supporting us from the outside, we’ve got unbelievable food from different restaurant vendors,” Masley said.

Inspiration and motivation needed for what could be a long road ahead.

“I think that, until they come up with a vaccine, we are going to have to be very cautious and very smart on what we do,” Masley said.

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