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Heroes of COVID-19: Hospital Food Service

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TUCSON (KVOA) - We all know hospitals are full of heroes, fighting every day to save lives.

But there are some employees who work in our local hospitals with an important job that you rarely hear about - the people who feed COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

"Eye opener. Especially when it comes to nutrition," said Travis.

Devon Gables Rehabilitation Center Nutritionist Barbara Travis told News 4 Tucson, she has seen firsthand how food plays a huge roll for COVID-19 patients.

"If they lose their taste or smell, they do not drink well because they are just very sick," she said.

Staff have to keep a close eye on their patient's food and fluid intake.

"So we give them extras - extra protein, extra fluids, hydration," Travis said. "So we do not get them dehydrated."

"We all have to eat at some point. We cannot just go through life not eating anything," said Miguel Geonnotti. "So, I think what we do here is very important for everybody including doctors, nurses and patients."

Geonnotti works in the food service at Tucson Medical Center and said, no one saw this coming.

"But the fact that we managed to pull it together and work together with the entire hospital, I think it was a group effort," Banner Health Room Service Associate Taylor Acedo.

Acedo said she started right before the pandemic hit.

"I was really ready to help my community," Acedo said.

She did, more so than she ever thought.

"A lot of the diets have changed during COVID-19. Our patients cannot eat when they are incubated. So we have two feeds. We have liquid diets. We have multiple diets to accommodate," she said. "We reached capacity at one point, so it was just constant."

News 4 Tucson asked how they felt about being called, heroes?

"Everybody is a hero in their own way," said Geonnotti. "We are all trying to get everybody healthy again."

As you can see, hospital staff wear many hats. But, they all have one goal.

"Keep them safe. Keep them well. Keep them healthy. Get them better," said Travis.

"Overall, I feel like we have become stronger from it all as a team and better," Acedo said. "Better equipped to handle things in the future.".

So when you think of hospital staff, do not forget about those in the food industry. They also wear capes.

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Allie Potter

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