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Utah nurse deploys to New York to help during COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 00:25:29-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah nurse is headed to one of the hardest hit areas in the country for COVID-19 cases, and people in the Salt Lake Valley are sending her with some help.

Moira Fox showed off a trailer over video chat that sat in her driveway Sunday.

It's going to be her home for 13 weeks.

Moira stepped inside and laughed as she pointed the cell phone toward her husband and baby boy on the bed. Her husband waved to the cell phone camera.

"There's my little family," she said.

Soon, she won't be seeing her husband and son much.

"This will be my little isolation box," she said, panning the camera around inside the trailer.

The registered nurse, who has worked at Intermountain Healthcare and in ICUs across the Salt Lake Valley, is temporarily leaving her life in Utah for a new purpose.

"Just seeing all the news and everything that's been going on, it kind of just struck a cord with me," Moira said. "I felt like I really have to go out and help."

She and her family are headed east back to Moira's home state of New York. It's where the latest numbers show that the state's COVID-19 cases make up more than one third of all cases in the country.

The state has also seen nearly half of the COVID-19-related deaths in the US.

"It's a total war zone," Moira said, of what healthcare friends in New York are telling her. "The patient-to-nurse ratios are completely off. I honestly don't know what I'm walking into. I don't think I'll have any idea until I actually step foot in the hospital."

Hospitals are overrun, and supplies are running short. Moira said she was told she'd get one mask and one gown per week, though best case scenario, she'll get one per day.

"I know to expect the worst at this point," she explained. "I've heard the doctors are wearing ski jackets... and some nurses are double gowning with garbage bags."

When others in the community heard about Moira's journey, they made sure she didn't arrive in New York empty-handed.

PC Laptops chipped in masks.

"So I've got bags of these guys," she said, holding up a bag of 3M N95 masks. "I also had some lovely women in the community knit me some of the cloth masks. So I have a whole box of these."

The same sewers also donated a whole stack of gowns.

"The generosity has been crazy," Moira said. "It's so humbling."

Moira, her husband and son plan to arrive in New York later this week.

Her husband and son will stay with Moira's family, while she stays on the front lines of COVID-19.

She isn't sure yet what she'll be doing during her 13-week contract, but Moira said she's ready to be put anywhere she's needed.

"The type of patients that I will be seeing are so critical," she sad.

And Moira is providing critical help-- with critical support from the Salt Lake Valley community.