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Arkansas healthcare workers travel to other states battling COVID-19

The surge in COVID-19 cases is prompting many healthcare workers in Arkansas to pack their bags and travel across state lines to help overwhelmed hospitals.

ARKANSAS, USA — Similar to the past winter, nurses and doctors in Arkansas are once again stepping up to help at COVID hotspots in different locations.

For healthcare workers like Riley Poor, her typical day on the job is a reminder of just how severe the battle against COVID-19 is. 

"We are seeing everything. I am probably transporting 3+ COVID patients a day in a 12 hour shift," Poor said.

She is a paramedic in Arkansas. She's been in and out of hospitals and responding to calls for help since the pandemic began. 

"There is always fear in the back of your mind, but fear for your patients, because it's a terrible disease. I see it every single day," Poor said. 

She and eight of her colleagues have driven four ambulances to New Orleans to be a pair of helping hands.

"I had to leave my family and leave them at home, and come here and help the people here because they needed me more than the people at home," Poor said.

It's a decision she made after her boss in Arkansas saw the need for relief in another state. 

"He said we need y 'all to go. Louisiana is in a crisis right now and they need bodies on the ground there," Poor said. 

With Hurricane Ida on the way, they are needed more than ever. 

"Our bed bound patients and our patients who require medical attendance, we are helping in getting them out of the flood zone areas," Poor said.

Being on the frontlines and facing the grim reality every day is taking a mental toll on her, but she is staying optimistic.

"We are holding on to hope that there is going to be a change and that we are going to be able to come out of this on top," Poor said.

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