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Baptist Health nurse reflects on year of coronavirus, the holidays and calls for public to follow safety protocols

Julia Morales said she's confident in her ability along with her colleagues to care for all patients as more hospital beds are being occupied.

SAN ANTONIO — Healthcare workers are working around the clock to help patients impacted by the coronavirus even during the holidays.

Among the unsung heroes is Baptist Health nurse Julia Morales, who’s been on the frontlines since the very beginning of the pandemic.

“It’s very scary not knowing – you don’t want to get it and you’re so careful and you take every measure possible,” Morales said.

The emotional toll of caring for coronavirus patients is a constant challenge. As a nurse, Morales has accompanied patients on their last breath.

Bexar County officials reported on Wednesday coronavirus patients makeup 15 percent of hospital bed capacity throughout San Antonio.

“I’m very confident that our Baptist Health System continues to be prepared to care for all of our patients,” Morales said.

Despite the uncertain road ahead, Morales feels mentally stronger to continue fighting for those impacted after receiving perhaps one of the best early Christmas gifts she could ask for.

 “I feel a sense of relief,” Morales said.

The vaccine, a shot of hope during this season of giving, not just for her colleagues but for everyone living with the virus.

“I don’t want to see people on ventilators from COVID anymore. I want everyone to get this vaccine and be healthy and just not have to live through this again,” Morales said.

On Christmas Day, Morales will wakeup with her kids and cherish their time together. Morales said her mom, who also works as a nurse, recently contracted the coronavirus but she is doing okay. She longs for the day when she can finally hug her once again.

“My girls and I will be at home. We’re going to make some cookies and drink some hot chocolate and watch some Christmas movies. It’s going to be different and it’s a sacrifice but it’s important to keep my family safe,” Morales said.

Morales stressed the importance for everyone to continue following safety protocols including hand-washing, social distancing and mask wearing practices.

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