“North Cascades Health and Rehabilitation Center is no longer on lockdown, so visitors can come inside and see their loved ones. Residents having a hard night can stay in the nurses station and do arts and crafts. There’s weekly coronavirus testing, and workers only have to wear surgical masks.

But there is still a frantic energy in the building, said Shelly Hughes, a certified nursing assistant. She wonders: What if there’s another COVID-19 outbreak, like the brutal one they experienced this winter? With turnover so high, will there be enough staff for the week? What’s going to happen tomorrow?

“The level of frustration is high, in workers and residents,” Hughes said. “We feel like we are past the pandemic in a lot of ways, but we have this whole new crisis.”

Few environments in Washington witnessed the devastation of the pandemic quite as severely as the state’s 4,760 long-term care facilities.”

To read the full story with SEIU 775 member Shelly Hughes, please visit the Seattle Times.

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