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'It's tragic': Summa Health nurse details emotional toll of battling COVID-19 on front lines during Gov. Mike DeWine's briefing

"Please, please, please, get vaccinated."

AKRON, Ohio — During his COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine detailed the impact that the surge in cases is having on Ohio's younger population. He also invited several health professionals across the state to share their stories of battling the pandemic from the front lines.

One report from the front lines in Northeast Ohio was especially troubling. 

Terri Alexander, a nurse with Summa Health, got emotional during her report to DeWine about conditions at the hospital. "It's just a sad, sad situation that we're dealing with and everybody here is emotionally exhaused," Alexander told DeWine as she attempted to hold back tears.

"It's hard to come in (to work) with the staffing levels that we have, with the shortage of equipment that we have and play that balancing game that we do with beds and other equipment. It's taking its toll on us after 18 months," she added. 

DeWine's briefing came as the state announced 459 newly-reported hospitalizations on Tuesday, the highest number of new hospitalizations since January. During the most recent completed reporting week (Sept. 5 -- Sept. 11), 230 Ohioans 39 and younger were admitted to the hospital, which is the highest number of admissions for COVID in this age group during the entire pandemic. 

RELATED: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine: More young now people hospitalized for COVID-19 than at any other point in pandemic

The most glaring statistic of all? Around 97 percent of patients of all ages in Ohio hospitals today are unvaccinated. 

"It's tragic because it's just so preventable," said Alexander. "Please, please, please, get vaccinated. We live in a culture that has never experienced coming to the hospital and getting turned away, and I think people can't fathom what that's truly like until its them or their family members who are coming in and getting turned away."

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