ROCKFORD ― In any crisis there are helpers who come to the rescue. They simultaneously show the gravity of the situation while demonstrating hope and perseverance.

There are many local helpers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. None more so than the doctors and nurses on the front lines in our hospitals. But, to an almost exclusive extent, residents have been unable to see these front line helpers in action in the U.S.

As a Rockford Register Star photojournalist, I spent four hours with a group of OSF Healthcare Saint Anthony Medical Center doctors and nurses on Wednesday. I photographed the tremendous work of the health professionals to help the most vulnerable among us. The poise and professionalism of these medical workers belies the incredible stress they are under.

I spent time in the emergency department, critical care center, and a wing for patients who do not require intensive care. Also, I visited the laboratory that is preparing for COVID-19 antibodies testing. Widespread antibodies testing will be the next major battlefield to understand the new coronavirus and to fight against its spread.

The Rockford community’s response to the COVID-19 disease must be far from over to eradicate the spread of this new virus. It is my hope that showing the extent to which our medical staff are working to keep us healthy, and to a certain extent, showing how severe this pandemic can affect our local population, may help communicate the seriousness each citizen should heed to public health initiatives.

Scott P. Yates;; @scottpyates