By Nick Starling

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – COVID-19 cases are ticking up according to the latest data from Tarrant County showing an increase of 412 cases and 303 cases in Dallas County on Tuesday.

For some health care workers, another holiday season with COVID concerns with the Omicron variant spreading feels like Groundhog’s Day.

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“It’s gone on and on and on…. It’s very difficult,” said Cindy Zolnierek, a registered nurse and the CEO of the Texas Nurses Association, “A lot of nurses feel discouraged.”

Zolnierek told CBS 11 News she’s concerned over the rising number of nurses leaving the job as the pandemic lingers,

“What we’ve seen is a shortage of nursing throughout the pandemic, and now (that) traveling companies have become very prominent, a lot of nurses have left to go work as travel nurses because of the pay as well as other opportunities,” Zolnierek said.

Another reason for nurses to quit, according to Zolnierek, is the increasing number of incidents of workplace violence.

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“Most recently it’s escalated because nurses are in a position of asking people to wear a mask, limiting visitors, and people are very stressed, some of them are stressed we tend to respond differently and nurses are seeing and increase of violence against them,” she said.

Without sufficient number of staff to help patients in the hospital, the care they receive is diminished, “Patient outcomes are at risk when you don’t have enough nursing staff,” added Zolnierek.

She’s hopeful the Omicron variant will be less severe, leading to fewer hospitalizations but urges everyone to help them by getting vaccinated.

“Vaccinations, if you get infected, you will probably have a mild episode of the illness that’s what we hope to achieve,” urged Zolnierek.


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