LANSING, MI – In response to the surging cases of COVID-19 and a recent statement by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce calling for reducing protections for frontline workers, Jamie Brown, RN, a critical care nurse at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo and president of the Michigan Nurses Association, provided the following statement:
“While Michigan became the focal point of a new outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, Michigan business executives brought forward proposals to remove guarantees of personal protective equipment for nurses and healthcare workers, remove mask mandates in restaurants, encourage in-person work for workers who could work from home, and weaken physical distancing requirements in workplaces. These proposals are dangerously irresponsible and could cost lives. If anything, we need more protective measures, not less.
“Nurses are exhausted. Many hospitals are close to 100% capacity. RNs around the state are being put in the impossible situation of having to decide which patient to attend to. Nurses are working up to 18 hours at a time, often without breaks. We are begging for everyone in the community to do their part. Stay home. Wear a mask. Get a vaccine when you are able. We are barely able to keep our heads above water. We are in crisis. We need our communities’ help.”