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Mercy Medical Center sees boost in morale, less staff absences since getting COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids has vaccinated the majority of its nearly 3,000 employees. Leaders there are starting to see the impact of those vaccines in more ways than one.

Dr. Matthew Aucutt, the Medical Director of the Emergency Department describes the atmosphere at the hospital before the COVID-19 doses arrived.

“There was just a lot of anxiety, fear, it wasn’t unusual to have people crying at work during their shift,” he told TV-9.

“Not being vaccinated, we had fear everyday and it really did take a toll on the staff as time wore on, the morale was getting pretty low,” Dr. Aucutt added.

Not only was morale low, but so was staffing as workers got sick or had to quarantine due to an exposure.

“Our employee illness rate essentially tracked to some degree what the general population was doing,” Dr. Timothy Quinn told us, Chief of Clinical Operations for Mercy Medical Center.

Once vaccines became available to staff, things got better.

“It was almost as if a giant weight had been lifted,” Dr. Quinn told TV-9.

“It’s been huge, the morale is way better. People just aren’t, they just don’t have that angst and the stress that they were walking around with everyday,” Dr. Aucutt told us.

The hospital has been seeing less absences since the vaccines got there too. For example, in mid-November Mercy had 60 employees test positive for COVID-19, that’s compared to just 3 on Thursday of this week.

We asked Dr. Quinn about herd immunity and whether the hospital believes they are starting to see some of it within their buildings.

“Well that’s a little bit tough to tell, I’d like to say yes we’re seeing some degree of that. The overall community rate of COVID right now is a lot lower and arguably that’s due, to some degree due to the vaccine. And it’s also due to what measures people are personally taking to protect themselves, but I think we are starting to see a little bit of herd immunity,” he told us.

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