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Local hospitals, overwhelmed, plead with Virginians to get vaccinated

Two local hospitals pleaded with the public today / Tuesday to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Wendy Horton and Mary Mannix, the CEOs of UVA Medical Center and Augusta Health, respectively, said their employees are exhausted after battling a pandemic for two years, and many have decided to leave.

WENDY HORTON: You know, after almost two years of the pandemic, our team is, as Mary said, exhausted, and many are at their breaking point … Morale wears thin with each additional surge.

MARY MANNIX: Many staff are deciding to pivot their careers and focus in different directions … for us, we find that well over 80% of our inpatients are unvaccinated, and 100% of our patients that are on ventilators are unvaccinated.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, 60% of Augusta County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, compared to 84% of Albemarle County residents. Staunton, Waynesboro, and Charlottesville all fall in the middle.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.