New York state representative puts nursing skills to work amid COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 2:28 PM, Apr 07, 2020

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- A New York state representative is trading the state capitol building for a hospital unit amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Rep. Karines Reyes is also a trained nurse and with a shortage in health care workers as more people contract the virus, she’s doing her part by putting on her scrubs.

Reyes spoke with WPIX’s Kala Rama about what it’s like working at a hospital during the coronavirus crisis.

"The number of patients that we’re seeing, the number of critical patients that we’re seeing — I mean I want to say almost every patient that we have is COVID-positive and about 80% of those patients are critical,” Reyes said, adding that five people were intubated on her unit alone during one shift over the weekend. “And that’s a trend that we’re seeing in every unit in every hospital across the city.”

Reyes said her family was very worried when she told them about her decision to help on the frontlines of the virus outbreak, but she knew it was the only way she could help directly.

“I have a set of skills that are required and needed right now,” she said. “It would be selfish of me to stay home and not answer that call.”

Reyes said she’s concerned about getting sick, but she’s taking all the precautions she can. New Yorkers, she added, can do the same.

“I want people to know they should be staying home and really helping us flatten this curve and making sure that we’re keeping the most vulnerable in our communities safe,” she said.

This story was originally published by Kala Rama at WPIX.