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Banner nurses in Colorado help Phoenix hospital with COVID-19 cases

"They've got our back, we've got theirs."

PHOENIX — As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Arizona, Banner Health nurses in Colorado are teaming up with frontline health care workers in Phoenix to help treat people in the hospital.

The climbing number of cases is helping bring desperately needed resources to the Valley while creating an unbreakable bond between healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic. 

As coronavirus cases soar in parts of Arizona, more help is on the way to care for hospital patients battling the virus.

Cameron Susa and Michelle Breese are two of the three nurses from Banner's North Medical Colorado Center in Greeley, Colorado, joining fellow healthcare workers at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix to help treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19.  

"Arizona was one of those states where it was like, 'Man, they're not getting hit like the rest of the country'… and the all of the sudden -- bam,” said Susa. 

"I was like, 'Yeah, sign me up. What do we need to do?' I just felt really comfortable working with coronavirus patients."

"The numbers just continue to climb,” said Breese. "They traveled from Phoenix to Colorado to help us, so when the need arose, It was kind of a no-brainer to come out here and help them."

"They've got our back, we've got theirs,” said Susa.

The team of nurses, part of the COVID-19 unit in Colorado, recently made their way to Phoenix with plans of being here for two weeks. 

While they’re here, they’ll provide support for their colleagues seeing an influx of patients.  

"I kind of made an oath to myself that I would go wherever the need was the greatest,” said Breese.

"Someone's got to take care of these people,” said Susa. “We kind of signed up to take care of people and in bad times, even if it's the worst of the worst, whatever it might be."

Arizona patients are keeping them busy.

"We definitely seeing a lot of increase in cases,” said Susa. "We get someone new like right off the bat as soon as that room is clean. We've got people waiting on deck in the ED."

"Our ratios are 3 patients to one nurse… and we're working 12-hour shifts,” said Breese.

They're following recommendations from the CDC, the WHO and their infectious disease doctors to stay safe while providing care.  

“These guys are so smart, so they know everything that we know about and they did a really good job at our hospital… what's the best, most up to date data,” said Susa.

The staggering spike in Arizona cases is bringing priceless resources to people fighting the virus.

These healthcare workers are sending out a reminder to everyone - no one is immune to contracting the virus, especially people with pre-existing health issues.

“You don't have to be old. I've taken care of people close to my age and I'm a relatively young, healthy guy,” said Susa.

They want us all to stay vigilant.

"The bigger importance is trying to slow the spread of this,” said Breese. “Keep masking!”

"You've got to wash your hands. You've got to disinfect regularly. If you're sick, stay away from people,” said Susa. “This isn't something to mess around about. It's not like the flu. We had young people on ventilators.”

Practicing safety first to prevent the spread is key.

"Even if you don't like wearing a mask yourself, think of someone you know who has COPD or someone who can get sick more easily,” he said. 

“If you're not willing to do it for you, at least do it for someone else… you could be saving someone else's life."


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