A Sanford Health Bismarck doctor said in a Zoom update on Thursday the number of patients being actively treated for COVID has decreased from a week earlier.

There are 51 total patients in the hospital: 35 have active cases and 16 are hospitalized for the continuing effects of the virus.

The hospital has programs in place to help doctors, nurses and staff deal with the stress and anxiety they are feeling.

“A lot of our staff, they do take it to heart, you know. They still care, they’re still passionate about taking care of the patients. Unfortunately, when you get to the stage where you’re on a ventilator it’s very difficult to recover and they do see a lot of sickness,” said Dr. Todd Schaffer, vice president of Clinic at Sanford Health Bismarck.

“Our staff takes on these patients as a family member because we’re the only ones who can go in and hold that patient’s hand and care for that patient. So, that’s the tough case for our staff because it’s like a family member passing on,” said Dr. Tony Tello, Sanford pulmonologist.

The American Medical Association recently cited Sanford as the top hospital in the nation for its wellness programs.