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Arizona Advice From The Front Lines Of The Pandemic

Even as hospitalizations and cases have shown a recent decline, health care workers in Arizona continue to be overwhelmed by the coronavirus. At Phoenix’s Mayo Clinic, all outpatient nurses have now become inpatient to handle the demand.

Heather Reser is a nurse supervisor at Mayo.

"We have been full for weeks, and we have no idea when we'll be able to open again," said Reser.

Despite recent encouraging signs that the virus has already hit its peak, she's not yet seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. "We need the numbers to drop for at least two weeks to even be able to evaluate."

Reser, who has been a registered nurse for 25 years, shared her advice for those waiting to get the vaccine — or who are experiencing COVID-19 fatigue. 

“We’re all there with you. We’re all experiencing the same things in our personal lives--just hang on a little bit longer. Just keep wearing the masks and social distancing — we feel you," Reser said. 

Reser said if she can hang in there, so can the rest of us.

"It’s not just at work that we’re stressed out — but we come home and feel the same things that everyone else does. We miss our friends and family," Reser said. 

As of this past weekend, the state says more than 340,000 Arizonans have been vaccinated at least once and over 60,000 residents have already received both doses.

Vaccinations continue at a steady pace around Arizona. But supply and appointments remain limited. 

As in other states, Arizona’s vaccination program was slow to get off the ground and the signup website for state-run sites has been criticized as confusing and difficult to navigate. As a first responder, Reser has already had both doses and says the process is simple once you get past the hurdles.

“Once you get signed up, it’s so easy. That’s what was so surprising about it. I mean once you get there, it’s so well organized and well run. I mean, you are in and out in 20 minutes," Reser said. 

The state has opened several mass vaccination sites, including State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson and the Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

A new site at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is set to open Tuesday.

The state has set up a 211 hotline for those without internet access. 

→  Q&AZ: What You Need To Know About Getting The Coronavirus Vaccine In Arizona

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.