ROCHESTER -- Health care workers continue to speak out in hopes that Minnesotans hear their message and take COVID-19 seriously.

A panel of Mayo Clinic staff shared their experiences working on the pandemic front lines.

Amy Spitzner is a critical care nurse in the medical intensive care unit at the Mayo Clinic. She says what they are seeing on a daily basis is far greater than what was happening in March.

Right now is a time I've never experienced before in my life. Two weeks ago, we intubated one patient and the team stepped out and intubated the patient next door.

She says for a lot of their patients they are the last people they will ever see, which weighs on staff mentally knowing no matter how hard they try, they still couldn't save them.

Desirae Cogswell is a respiratory therapist in the medical intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic. She says health care workers are mentally and physically fatigued dealing with this latest surge.

There is a lot of things that we see that are not easy to deal with and just the surge in COVID cases and the amount of patients we are getting, it's overwhelming.

Andrew Torres is a paramedic with Mayo Clinic Ambulance. He says it's frustrating seeing so many people not taking this seriously.

Everyday that we take care of someone, I think of how many more are being infected because someone isn't wearing a mask or social distancing. To me that's the tougher aspects of all this, wondering where does that uphill battle end.

Torres says he often feels safer at work than he does in public because of how people are not following health and safety recommendations.

There have been over 322,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,615 deaths statewide.

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