Kristen Woodward would tell you she's a mother before anything else. Though there was a time during the pandemic when she had to make a sacrifice –– torn between protecting her kids' health and keeping her community safe.
"It was a lot of fear," she recalled.
Woodward oversees the Intensive Care Unit at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. During the pandemic, she sent her kids to live with her parents to prevent exposing them to COVID-19.
"That was a self sacrifice that I had to make in order to ensure that my family would be safe, but then to also ensure that I could come to work every day and support my team," Woodward said.
Two years after the first confirmed case in the Commonwealth, the medical center recently went one full week without treating a single COVID patient –– an incredible pandemic milestone.
At one point, the medical center's ICU was at nearly five times its capacity.
Dr. Jorge Dolojan –– a pulmonologist –– was worried about the toll the pandemic was taking on his team.
"There were days where I had to transfer three, four patients into the ICU and had to massively resuscitate them," Dolojan recalled.
Days like that were uncommon before the pandemic, but it was almost a daily occurrence during the height of the pandemic, he said.
After celebrating its first week with no COVID patients, Woodward said it's given her a chance to breathe.
"I think a moment of reprieve. To be able to take a deep breath and to say, 'Woo, this has been heavy,'" she said.