Despite low protective gear, nurses continue to make sacrifices amid coronavirus crisis

They are just a few of the new heroes in the global fight to beat a deadly virus: Filipino nurses on the frontlines, treating patients with COVID-19, some already in the intensive care unit.

“Yeah we’re really seeing quite a few number of potential cases, and some positives. We are seeing more and more off them. And it really jumped from that first week to this last week I just worked. We are seeing more of them,” said Zen Kasilage Reyes.

Reyes is a nurse at the Intensive Care Unit at Christ Hospital in Jersey City.

As of Wednesday, New Jersey has nearly 3,000 people tested positive for coronavirus, putting the garden state — second in the country with the most cases, passing Washington and California.

Reyes said she has been sleeping in a different room and couldn’t really interact with her family because what she fears she’s been exposed to.

“I can’t even hug my kids. I come straight from work, I change at work. I take my shoes off in the garage, run straight to the shower. My daughter wants to hug me and I can’t even do that right now.” 

Marie Duffy is the Chief hospital executive at Christ Hospital.

“One of the things that I’m very fortunate of, is my staff.  They’re very innovative. They look for ways for where we are able to conserve PPEs. For example, in our emergency department, we started an ED Triage tent so that we could screen outside and not necessarily bring in and mix patients.” 

This “re-invented” IV machine is another example. It minimizes the nurse’s exposure to the sick patient by having it outside the room.

But despite all of that, Duffy said they are facing a real crisis that sometimes leaves her sleepless – they are running out of personal protective gears or PPE’s.

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