How an Orlando nurse describes treating COVID-19 patients in hard hit NYC

15 ICU patients assigned to each nurse

ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida nurse Hailey Hester said that she will arrive in Orlando on Tuesday after being in New York City since April 4 treating COVID-19 patients.

“You just see what needs to be done and just start doing, basically. As soon as I got there I was in the emergency room. I was blown away,” Hester said.

Hester showed News 6 pictures of Time Square when she arrived, on display were signs of appreciation toward health care workers.

Hester said that she worked at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.

She said when she first arrived, she was told to use a single N95 mask every five days. She said as of Monday, the supply had increased, allowing for a new mask each day.

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To protect herself, the Orlando nurse said she also used paper scrubs, gowns, shoe covers and gloves.

Hester said that she has finished working 21, 12-hour shifts..

“Once the patients come in by ambulance, the providers let that family stay for the first hour or so, to watch them start getting stabilized, watching us intervene. And then we give them the numbers and everything to call for updates and they have to leave,” Hester said.

Hester said she saw people die in the emergency room from COVID-19, including times when she was alone with the patient in their final moments.

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When arriving at the hospital, she said there were 15 ICU patients being assigned to each nurse. Hester said a nurse typically oversees two ICU patients.

Hester said once she arrives in Florida, she will quarantine for two weeks. After that, she is looking forward to being reunited with her husband and two young children.

For now, she has a warning for others not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

“It’s real, it’s not fake. We’re seeing it every day," Hester said. "It’s significant here and it could be anywhere in America if we’re not careful.”

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