With the end of lockdown restrictions and life returning to normal for many, it would be easy to forget about the battle for life going on behind the scenes inside our hospitals.
Now, South Eastern Sydney Area Health District (SESLHD) has given the public a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse inside one of its intensive care wards used to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.
A video uploaded to its Facebook page last week offered the chance to see inside the COVID-19 intensive care ward at St George Hospital, which has treated dozens of COVID-19 patients during the latest wave of the pandemic, which has so far claimed 562 lives.
The video also features the hospital's intensive care unit nurse manager Clare Loveday, who spoke about the impact the pandemic has had on the hospital's staff.
In the video, Ms Loveday said the hospital's staff were "struggling as much as you are" during the pandemic and "know how hard it is" for families not to be able to visit loved ones in hospital as they fight for life.
"As caring people we want you to be in here with them but we want to keep you safe, we want to keep us safe and we want to keep them safe," she said.
"The nursing staff that I see out there every day giving their all are heroes," she said, adding many were juggling the demands of working with caring for children, including homeschooling, and looking after elderly parents.
"Life doesn't stop in a pandemic," she said. "But they still come to work. They still turn up with a smile on their face."
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She said the message the staff would like to send to the public is "we are here for you in this pandemic. We are here holding your hands, taking care of you, taking care of your loved ones when you can't be there.
"But we need you to understand we are human too and we are struggling just as much as you are."
She said the concept that a staff member could contract COVID at work and take it home to family members "was a significant point of anxiety for us".
"Yes we all have loved ones at home that we are concerned about the potential of taking something like this home," she said.
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