WAYNESBORO, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — University of Virginia Health System nurses traveled to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro to see the animals that helped them destress while serving on the frontlines of the pandemic.

At the Wildlife Center of Virginia, there are a live feed of the animals. The center calls it “Critter Cams” and the nurses at UVA Health love to look at the live feed for stress relief.

Synthia Edwards said that after days of taking care of patients that are affected by COVID 19, it was one of the best ways to release the stress.

A stressful time, of course, for people and it was a very disheartening time also for people. I think that’s how us nurses and even the doctors became involved in watching the critter cams at the COVID clinic because it was a source of tension relief and stress relief,” said Edwards.

In December, Ed Clark, the president of the Wildlife Center, was one of the many people who tested positive for COVID at UVA Health. Luckily, he did not suffer from a lot of symptoms, but for others, it was a different story.

“It was a very intense day, the day I went in. The people coming in to be tested, a lot of those folks were real sick, and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for somebody to know when you get out of bed you’re going to see miserable people all day long, and they do it. They did it with a wonderful smile,” said Clark.

Once the nurses realized who Clark was, they were filled with excitement.

“We were excited, not that he was there to be tested, but excited that we found out who he was, and so from there, he reached back out and invited us on for a tour,” said Edwards.

Clark said inviting them to the wildlife center was a way for him to say thank you.

I went in to get tested for COVID and I felt so good coming out of there after having heard that story. I just couldn’t stop smiling, and so we’ve been thinking about how do we say thank you for the service they’ve provided to our community,” said Clark.

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