Nurse at Raymond James testing site describes emotional ups and downs of fighting COVID-19

Noelle Lelakus is one of the nurses on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The AdventHealth nurse practitioner is part of the team testing Tampa Bay residents for COVID-19 at Raymond James Stadium. Although she never thought she would be dealing with a widespread illness of this magnitude, she tries to use her good-attending skills to ease her patients' fears. 

"I try to smile, be friendly, say hello and introduce myself," she told FOX 13. "I talk about what I'm doing and give them space to talk about what their feelings are about everything." 

She knows it's a tough time for everyone, and hopes she can provide some comfort to each person she tests. 

"At a time when we're distanced in a lot of places -- both in our personal life and professional lives - to be able to help the community in a way that has brought people together at the appropriate six foot distance has been really rewarding," Noelle said. 

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Noelle, like other medical professionals working with coronavirus patients, takes the proper precautions to keep herself safe and healthy. 

"I don't think my shoes have been inside my house in a few weeks. I run an inordinate amount of laundry," said Noelle.

Noelle tells her patients keeping the cleanest house you can is the best form of infection prevention.

Beyond her advice, she always leaves them with a message of hope.

"Go home live your best lives," she said. "You have to let it come in waves. There is comfort knowing that everyone is in this together."