By Bill Shields

WEYMOUTH (CBS) — It’s no secret that doctors and nurses are exhausted as they continue to battle COVID-19. But they know the next few weeks may be the toughest yet.

Hospitals across the state are being filled by coronavirus patients. Since Thanksgiving, the number of patients has more than doubled.

“I was in the military for a few years and there were times we trained for disasters like this but I honestly didn’t think in my lifetime I would have the opportunity to witness it,” said South Shore Hospital Dr. Kim Dever. “Every day we’re dealing with staff and colleagues that are just exhausted.”

At the height of the pandemic, there were nearly 4,000 coronavirus patients in hospitals. On Tuesday, there were 2,428 patients, with the number rising.

More than 86% percent of the state’s hospital beds are now filled and only about a quarter of ICU beds are available.

“You take a deep breath, and you walk in and it’s just like you’ve just got to do it,” said Denise Fay, a nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It’s kind of like going into a war zone, to be totally honest with you. It’s frightening.”

“We’re worried. We’re exhausted and that chronic feeling, it’s just overwhelming us,” she added.

“I think all of us have fear but I think also, we do see hope, many of us have been vaccinated,” Dever said.

Bill Shields