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'It's not close to being over with': Respiratory therapist says you can't let your guard down now

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Posted at 10:30 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 02:20:26-05

INDIANAPOLIS — As we enter the holiday season and some may let their guard down, a respiratory therapist at IU Health says the pandemic isn't even close to being over with.

Douglas Sparks says people need to continue wearing a mask and social distancing as COVID-19 numbers rise in Indiana.

"What you have to do is wear a mask, stay out of a crowded room, and be smart," Sparks said.

He says this is important to be able to help protect other people.

"You're not just protecting yourself, you're protecting everybody that you're around," Sparks said. "Anybody that you care about, anybody that you love, if you don't do just the simplest of things, you are putting them in danger. Whether you've had it or not, it's not rocket science."

Sparks says the work for respiratory therapists has increased during the pandemic and can require more time because of the personal protective equipment needed to treat patients with COVID-19.

"Emotionally and mentally it's been fairly taxing," Sparks said. "You know when you come into work for a 12-hour shift you know you're going to be busy. If you work in an ICU like I do, you know you're going to be busy. You don't expect it to be exponentially busier so the stress of coming in and knowing you're going to be busy can be taxing. Knowing that you don't know if you're going to have everything you need can be taxing because you have to figure out how you're going to get through that."

He says it can also be emotionally taxing to watch patients be isolated without family with them because of the visitor restrictions.