ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken both a personal and professional toll on medical staff working to save lives everyday. For Thanksgiving week, a local doctor shares what he’s most thankful for, despite the ongoing challenges.

When reflecting on the pandemic, a lot comes to mind for Dr. James Yost, the chief medical officer for Peachtree Immediate Care. “When we’re faced with trying times, a lot of us really just rise to the occasion,” said Dr. Yost. It’s what he says his employees have done during the worst of times, even as some of them tested positive for COVID-19. “Where most people run out of the building, the volunteer firefighter, who doesn’t get paid, runs in, and I saw a lot of that with my clinical staff and a lot of that with my staff here locally,” Yost said.

The pandemic pushed the network down from about 50 patients a day to seven, and it forced him to furlough employees.

“I’ve been in medical leadership now for 10 years at the executive level, and it’s probably one of my hardest things I had to do,” said Yost, explaining how they shifted their services to offering drive-thru testing sites.

Through it all, he says there’s good reason to be thankful. “I’m grateful for my family who supported me, working long hours to help pivot our company. I am very grateful for my faith, and I’m very, very grateful for my employees,” he said.

He’s thankful for the risks his employees took while putting patients first., and he says fear and faith have played a role in his personal and professional journeys. “Although fear motivated me to do more, my faith motivated me to do better and be stronger and set the example for my employees,” said Yost.

Yost says it’s that same faith that will push him and other doctors into the next year with optimism. “Were all in this together on one level or another, whether we want to be in it or not, so we all might as well work together and get through it together and come out better, brighter and stronger on the other side,” he said.

He’s hoping a successful vaccine will be the next reason to be thankful in 2021.