By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Advocate Aurora Health has put otu an emotional plea with a full page ad telling people, “We can’t stop COVID without you.”

It urges people to get vaccinated or boosted if they are eligible. The ad makes its appeal on behalf of doctors, nurses and other exausted health care workers.

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It is a desperate plea because COVID-19 and its Omicron variant have wide-rannging effects on both patients and exhausted healthcare workers.

“Beds are full. Wait times are long,” the ad states.

“There’s a fatigue and an emotional drain that is occurring as well,” said Dr. Mary Beth Kingston, chief nursing officer.

She said the hospital system follows the national trend of health care worker shortages, only making emotional drain worse. It’s all happening during another huge case surge as the Omicron variant spreads.

“We’re just seeing a huge surge in cases of COVID and we can’t stop this by ourselves,” she said.

This advertisement, now hitting publications in Chicago and the Milwaukee area, aims to put the responsibility of turning the tide in the public’s hands.

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“Most importantly to get vaccinated,” Kingston said.

More than 90% of inpatients in the hospital system are unvaccinated or need a booster shot. Kingston said a small number of fully vaccinated people in the hospital have underlying conditions or are immunocompromised.

“So that’s the main message – if you’re vaccinated the likelihood of being hospitalized is dramatically reduced,” Kingston said.

Dr. Kingston said right now they are not in a position to turn away patients, but she warns, “We’re looking at a very difficult winter.”

Kingston said this effort, with the hope of turning a new page and avoiding a potentially bleak next chapter, is being used across the country. As winter goes on, health proessionals are now keeping a close eye on how COVID cases mixed with flu increases affect hospitalizations.

Advocate Aurora is one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in the country and says it is caring for three times more COVID-19 patients than two months ago.

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The ad ran Sunday in both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times as well as papers in Milwaukee and Green Bay.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff