SALEM, Ore. - An oncology nurse at a hospital in Oregon has been placed on administrative leave after saying she does not wear a mask in public and flouts other COVID-19 restrictions in a since-deleted video on social media.
The nurse, identified by hospital officials as Ashley Grames to local news outlets, is an employee at Salem Health — which operates Salem Health Hospital and other medical facilities in the region.
In the video, Grames says she continues to travel during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, doesn't wear a mask in public outside of work and allows her children to have play dates, according to the Salem Statesman Journal. Grames' video was uploaded Nov. 27 to TikTok, the newspaper reported.
Masks are required in public throughout the state, with a few exceptions.
The post has since been deleted, but a “duet” version by another TikTok user includes the original footage. TikTok allows users to build on another video by recording alongside the original as it plays.
The video shows the nurse wearing scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck, appearing to mock her coworkers' response to her lack of COVID-19 safety precautions. The video is set to a lip-dub from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Oregon has reported at least 76,654 coronavirus cases and 936 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, according to state data. On Dec. 1, the state reported 24 new COVID-19 deaths — setting a new single-day record.
Grames’ employer, Salem Health, said in a statement that the TikTok post showed “cavalier disregard for the seriousness of this pandemic.”
“This video has prompted an outcry from concerned community members,” the statement reads in part. “We want to thank those of you who brought this to our attention and assure you that we are taking this very seriously. This individual does not speak for Salem Health and has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.”
“We also want to assure you that this one careless statement does not reflect the position of Salem Health or the hardworking and dedicated caregivers who work here,” the health system added.
The hospital’s statement in response to the video was posted on Facebook and has garnered more than 2,000 comments, with many calling for the nurse’s termination.
“Her actions are incomprehensible. Immediate action is needed. She absolutely should lose her job,” one person wrote.
“Administrative leave? For knowingly exposing immunocompromised patients to Covid and then bragging about it? I'm an RN and I'm so disappointed in this response,” another person commented.
Salem Hospital has had 91 employee-related positive cases of COVID-19, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority’s latest weekly report. The report shows the hospital has the highest employee-related count of any medical facility in the state, only outnumbered by an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Troutdale and three prisons.
Grames could not be reached for comment. Local news outlet FOX 12 reported that she declined to be interviewed by a reporter who went to her home.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.