GARY, Ind. (CBS) — We’ve all seen long lines at COVID-19 testing facilities over the last few weeks.

On Friday, CBS 2’s Steven Graves talked with workers on the front lines just over the state line in Gary, Indiana.

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“It’s more than just giving a vaccination or giving a COVID swab,” said nurse Danielle Collins.

Lately, Collins also deals with emotions, when administering tests and shots in a COVID surge brings unwanted jabs from impatient people.

“The pushing and the shoving; the arguing; people using profanity; people saying that you don’t care,” Collins said.

The Gary native said that last sentiment is the farthest from the truth.

“I love my community. I love my community,” she said. “I feel that I’m giving back.”

She said she is giving back because she tests her own family and friends some days – seeing leave with unexpected news.

“You know, because out of the nine people you test, at least four of them have COVID,” Collins said.

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We visited the Gary Health Department as Collins worked earlier this week. In a rare moment, she and other nurses had no patients – a much needed break.

“Yeah, and that’s how it is,” Collins said. “You breathe – really thanking God that you’re here.”

One of the hardest parts for these nurses is seeing someone come into the doors to get a test one day – and later realizing they’re never going to return.

“You might see a person come in on a Monday and then you look in the paper and that person has died,” Collins said. “It really affects you.”

Collins and her co-worker, Brandy Downs-Burnett, say they bring the pain home.

“There was a lot of times I just had to just get in a room by myself and just pray,” said Downs-Barnett, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Gary Health Department.

It is a push to keep going for their community that they hope sees them as more than people in a mask and gown.

“Be patient,” said Downs-Burnet. “I am the same human as you are.”

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“My whole thing is love genuinely – because you may be here today and gone tomorrow,” added Collins.

Source: CBS Chicago

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