HYANNIS – “We’re doing okay. We’re well-staffed, people are feeling well and the number of Covid cases in the entire hospital (as of June 9) is five,” said Bette Texeira, a registered nurse in the critical care unit of Cape Cod Hospital.
Texeira, 47, of Mashpee, was first interviewed by Cape Cod Wave Magazine on March 24 about the situation inside the hospital. She updated us on April 3, on April 17, May 1, and again on May 22. She is a registered nurse who has worked for Cape Cod Hospital for 26 years, the last seven in the critical care unit.
Texeira has agreed to give updates, when she has time, to Cape Cod Wave Magazine on what is happening in the hospital and specifically in the ICU during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The last time Texeira gave us an update, staff was stressed and some were getting sick. On Tuesday, she said, “Overall, we’re feeling a lot more positive that our colleagues are returning to work heatlthy, said Texeira. Not all are back yet, she said, but most are.
“We’re getting offered more time off,” said Texeira, who had been working extra hours when staff was sick. In fact, Texeira said she and a couple of friends from work plan to take a few days off and just relax together.
“The Covid tent is down” she said. “To me that says we were getting less and less people coming in to be tested.” As of Tuesday, she said, only two patients were in ICU and both had been there a long time. It had been more than ten days since any other Covid patients had to go into ICU, and even then they did not stay long, she said.
“I think we’re all kind of in shock from what just happened,” Texeira said of the past couple of months in the hospital. “We’re all still kind of processing it.”
While infectious diseases have long been known about, this particular infectious disease was especially deadly. Even now, Texeira said, “health care workers are constantly keeping track of all the new changes.”
But, she added, “With patients coming into the hospital, I feel like we are better prepared now because we’ve been doing it and following the same procedures. It seems to be less taxing on us.
“But there are new protocols and protocols are changing every day,” she said. “We have plenty of PPE, and we have a good grip on what is required.
“I’m not going to lie and say we’re not fearful,” she said. “It just feels like it’s manageable.”
She credited the Cape community for helping the staff get through the surge and also with following the rules and flattening the curve.
“Cape Cod is the best place on Earth to live,” said Texeira. “There has been such a huge outpouring of support the last three months. Some days, it was literally what kept us going.”
And the community did more than just express support, she said.
“I think everybody in the community did a good job” following stay-at-home and social distancing rules, she said.
“But the real test will come now that there have been pool parties in some places, and gatherings, and all the protests,” said Texeira of the overall national picture.
“If we get to the middle of July and we don’t see a huge spike with all the gatherings and things that have been going on, then I feel pretty confident that hopefully the worst is behind us.”
But whatever happens with the curve, Texeira said, “I feel like this is going to be the new normal. Screens in front of registers, lines outside, masks, I feel like this is going to be the new normal going forward.”
Texeira is also the director of The CHIPS [Cape Head Injury Persons] House in Centerville, and at that facility, she said, “We’ve been Covid clean for three months.”
While family members are eager to visit their relations who are residents, Texeira said she is “waiting at least until the middle of July” to allow such visits. “When I do, they will have to schedule it and it will have to be outside.”
One “lackadaisical family member” could infect all the residents, she said and so she is waiting to allow any visits for the at-risk residents.
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Texeira said she plans to finally get together soon with her mother, whom she has not seen in months. “I am looking forward to my mother’s birthday,” she said. “I will see her. We have to take the proper precautions. I will still have on a mask, but I will be able to touch her and be near her.”
But she is being careful. “For myself, I am still not 100 percent jumping back into my normal routine,” said Texeira. “With my children, with my family, and just with my daily life,” she said of her cautious approach towards all.
“Every day, I wake up diligent about what are the numbers today and what changes am I going to have to make today to make make sure that my immediate family, my circle, stays healthy.”
“You can’t make anyone do that for themselves. Each one of us has to take on that responsibility for our entire community,” said Texiera. “In saying all of that, each person in whatever situation we’re in has to take the responsibility ourselves and look at ourselves and our family and decide how to move forward.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of the positive news, Cape Cod Wave does not plan to check in again with Texeira until the middle of July. If things change, this plan may change.
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