SOMC nurses detail hospital’s 24/7 Covid battle

Those hospitalized for the coronavirus require a lot of medical attention and are hooked-up to many machines like these to battle its harmful effects. Photo courtesy of Amy Fraulini.

SCIOTO — Working in any field for three decades typically gives an employee a wide range of experiences and increasingly slim chance for surprises. For one Southern Ohio Medical Center nurse, however that, unfortunately, has not been the case in 2020.

In her 30 years as a nurse, the last 24 as a nursing leader, Amy Fraulini shared in a Wednesday Facebook post how the coronavirus is unlike anything she has seen. It’s been frightening to see this transformation, she says in the post, from a point where the spread was relatively tame this summer to the spiking numbers as of late.

“Two months ago…..we had COVID here…..but NOT like this,” Fraulini, SOMC’s Director of Heart and Vascular Services, posted. “Two months ago our ICU did not look like an ICU on the nightly news. Today….it does.”

While some who test positive may have little to no symptoms, another portion is facing immense difficulties. Fraulini said that share has only grown recently including those without underlying conditions.

“What scares me as a nurse? Patients are dying that are my age,” she said. “Patients are dying that do not have major comorbidities. Patients that were leading normal lives last month…..are dying.”

Numbers from the Portsmouth City and Scioto Health Departments demonstrate just how rapidly the virus is spreading in the community. As of the latest tally, there are 2,400 total cases since the beginning of the outbreak, 788 active cases, 29 deaths and 194 total hospitalizations.

On Nov. 3, the health departments reported that there were 402 active cases, 12 deaths, and a cumulative total of 77 hospitalizations. This means that over the last 30 days, over 380 active cases have been added, deaths have more than doubled, and nearly 120 new hospitalizations have been tallied.

Only three days into December, there have been three deaths reported including Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree. From the time the first death was reported July 28, it took until Aug. 27 for a third death in the county to be recorded.

The Scioto County Emergency Management Agency reported Wednesday that there are 128 coronavirus patients hospitalized and 25 in Intensive Care Units throughout Hospital Preparedness Region 7, which includes Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton counties. One month ago, there were 47 hospitalized and seven in the ICU.

All this comes after the Ohio Department of Health updated its Covid travel advisory Dec. 2 to include itself and 13 other states. The advisory asks but does not order, for those that travel to states with positivity rates above 15% to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Ohio’s seven-day average as of Wednesday was at 15%, the first time since April that its positivity rate reached that high according to the ODH release. Those taking the U.S. Grant or Carl D. Perkins bridges into Kentucky may soon be under the advisory, its positivity rate of 14.7% the highest its been since May.

The post caught the eyes of many in the community, receiving 867 shares, nearly 450 likes, and over 130 comments as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Fellow SOMC employees chimed in on Fraulini’s post, including April Greene and Whitney Perry.

Greene, an SOMC nurse since 2008, has been with patients from the reveal of a positive diagnosis to the final days when a path to recovery is no longer a possibility and finally attending funerals.

“I have held up the iPad for families and barely held myself together listening to loved ones say their last goodbyes,” she shared. “I have sobbed with families and patients as the realization hits, and hits hard that they or their loved one will not make it through this.”

“It seems like a book or movie; something bizarre imagined up that you would never believe possible to truly happen. Every day literally feels like a dream, a nightmare that is never-ending.”

Perry works in the ICU and outlined several scenarios which require one nurse per patient, scenarios such as kidney failure or cardiac arrest. At increased personal exposure intervals to the virus, she said the team has continued its work despite no change in their pay or benefits.

“Even if you haven’t worn a mask in public all year and say covid is a hoax, we will still do our best to save you,” she wrote.

“Even if you had a multifamily Thanksgiving/super spreading celebration, we will still do our best to save you.”

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.