Traveling nurses arrive in Tampa to ease pressure at area hospitals

In the war against COVID-19, doctors and nurses are the frontline soldiers. As hospitals in Florida continue to fill with sick-patients, there’s a growing need for re-enforcements. 

“I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it's going to get,” said Jacob Furfaro. 

Furfaro is a traveling nurse. He joins about 150 other nurses and respiratory therapists, sent by NuWest to help ease the pressure in Tampa’s hospitals. His last assignment was in the trenches, in New York City.

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“Just seeing people die every shift you have, it was hard,” Furfaro said. “You walk through an ICU you see 10 or 12 out of 13 people on their bellies hoping for a miracle essentially. And you’re seeing that in Tampa hospitals,” he said.

“The stories you hear are true,” said Sommer Jones, a traveling respiratory therapist.

Jones has a 14-year-old daughter back home in Memphis, Tennessee. She’s putting other people’s lives ahead of her own.

“People think it’s political or a conspiracy but I’ve seen it first-hand,” Jones said.

She’s been there in the final moments, the only one there.

“Until you’ve sat there, holding an iPad, while you have family watching their family member actively dying, you're the one holding their hand,” she said. “You’re part of that family, they'll never forget their face you won’t forget either,” she added.

Both she and Furfaro are here because the fight isn’t over and because lives, not just statistics are on the line.

“If they look at those numbers as people it may change their perceptive on things,” Jones said.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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