Health care professionals are our heroes during this pandemic. Nurses at Comanche County Memorial Hospital have stepped up like never before to help patients with the deadly coronavirus. Melissa Alvillar, the director of nursing operations at CCMH, said they’ve made the fourth floor of the hospital and the ICU on the north side of the hospital where COVID-19 patients go.

“We’ve worked really hard to isolate these patients,” Alvillar said. “So that they’re not all over our hospital, to help minimize stress not only for our staff but the other patients.”

The fourth-floor nurses, also called the Four West Warriors, were already assigned to the floor before this pandemic hit. So, those nurses except for immunocompromised and pregnant nurses are still working in that area.

“Our staff has done an outstanding job just stepping up,” Alvillar said. “They didn’t really get much of a choice on who was going to take over, but they did it, and they did it without complaint. They happily stepped up to take care of these patients knowing that it was going to be a stressful time for them.”

Penny Ramirez, the director of the four west COVID unit, said nurses love their patients whether they’re in the middle of a pandemic or not, but because of not being able to have visitors, those with the virus are leaning on them.

“We hold hands sometimes, and we talk them through these tough situations,” Ramirez said. “We do call some of the family members just to update them and tell them: ‘Hey, mom is doing ok. She’s getting better, she loves you, she misses you’.”

The fourth-floor nurses are not only taking care of the patients with COVID-19, but they’re also tasked doing even more work than normal.

“They’re changing the beds, they’re taking out the trash, they’re feeding the patients, they’re providing their nursing care,” Alvillar said. “They’re doing 100% of the work.”

Since getting their first coronavirus patient, they’ve come together like never before.

“They’re bonding, she said. “Their strengths are becoming stronger. What used to be weaknesses are now strengths. It’s just really amazing to see them building bonds and becoming closer not only as co-workers but as friends because they’re leaning on one another.”

Besides leaning on each other, the community has also stepped up to show their support. People have donated food and drinks and even went to the hospital’s parking lot to honk their horns in support.

“They’re taking care of the community,” Ramirez said. “We’re a community hospital, so our patients are the community, and so when they get that support I think it helps their morale to know that somebody is standing behind them and they’re not in this alone and that they’re appreciated.”

They said another way the community can show their support and help is to stay home. Alvillar asks that you stay home for them, so they can stay at the hospital for you.