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'The amount of patients will go up if we continue to not isolate': ICU nurse warning to take COVID-19 seriously

An ICU nurse in Jacksonville said she has never seen anything in her decade plus career like COVID-19.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When Lee Ann Jones gets home from work, she disinfects herself and takes almost everything off before going inside. Then, she showers immediately.

Jones is an ICU nurse in Jacksonville and works the night shift. She said her worst fear is possibly infecting her kids and grandmother at home.

"I try to disinfect myself as best as possible because we just don't know how easily it will transfer," she said."I have to isolate myself from her [her grandmother], so it's hard because now there's no more hugs in the house. We have to separate, so it's really hard."

In more than a decade as a nurse, Jones said nothing compares to COVID-19.

"It’s, it’s ... I don’t know how to describe it," she said. "We’ve never seen this before in our lifetime. This is spreading fast and the damage it is doing on people’s lungs is quite remarkable, and as a nurse, I’ve never seen it before."

According to Jones, the virus has affected all age groups and all people.

"You're having all age groups affected at this point, when we thought it was just a senior, older person or immune-compromised [problem], so that statistic is blown out of the window. That's not true," she said.

"We're seeing healthy people ... that we would have never thought are in an ICU on a ventilator in the ICU now," Jones said.

She said as of now, she and her colleagues have supplies.

"PPE is limited, but I know we are getting supplies we need," she said.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Saturday on Twitter the Emergency Operations Center distributed more than 17,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns and gloves to area hospitals Saturday.

These PPE items are part of more than 100,000 pieces that will be distributed to hospitals, health care facilities and assisted living facilities, Curry said.

Jones said nurses and doctors across the area are working together to learn more about the unknown.

“The hospitals in Jacksonville are connected and talking to each other about what’s best for the patients, like what should we be doing for them, so [there's] even in that sense of community in that aspect of coming together to help fight this virus," she said.

Jones has a stark warning: if you haven't been taking coronavirus seriously, you need to start to.

"The amount of patients will go up if we continue to not isolate," she said. "This is really making people sick and I just wish people not in the medical field would understand the importance of isolating ourselves right now."

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