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A day in the life of an ICU nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic in Houston

Demond McDonald, an ICU nurse at Memorial Hermann Hospital, says ICU beds aren't staying empty for long.

HOUSTON — One of the busiest ICUs in Houston is at Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center.

One of its busiest nurses is Demond McDonald.

“It’s been really crazy to see all these people come in with COVID," McDonald said.

McDonald said his unit has 22 beds, and as soon as one bed becomes available, it’s quickly back in use with another COVID-19 patient. No visitors are allowed.

“When I call to update the family, it’s really difficult to tell them how sick their family members are."

He said some patients are able to do Zoom calls and regular phone calls. McDonald said he'll never forget a patient from two months ago whose wife called every day. He held the phone up to the patient’s ear.

"Actually having me to just have the phone to where she could sing to him, that was big for me."

That patient recovered, but McDonald has seen many COVID-19 patients not recover. He’s witnessed a lot of death in the past few months. He said it's a reality check for those who aren't taking the coronavirus seriously.

"I wish they would just see what I see and understand the severity of wearing masks out in public because it’s real."

He sometimes works up to 60 hours a week and welcomes the nurses now coming into Houston from other parts of the country.

"I'm appreciative that we have people that can come help us like we had people that were able to go help them."

RELATED: Roughly 66 percent of Houstonians rely on city's public sites to get tested for COVID-19

RELATED: As coronavirus cases surge, Texas Medical Center hospitals look to fill hundreds of open clinical jobs

RELATED: Why 'positivity rate' paints a more accurate picture of COVID-19 spread in Houston, Harris County

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