MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. - We're hearing stories from the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight in Maricopa County.
An intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Valleywise Health tells FOX 10 what it’s been like battling the virus, from the highest highs to the lowest lows, and what she’s most afraid of moving forward.
Critical care nurses are covered head to toe, in tubes, filters, gloves, gowns and glasses.
All double checked and sanitized with educators and observers watching on the way in and especially on the way out of the unit.
“I’m not as scared of me getting it personally. But I would be scared if i did get it, I’d be afraid to pass it along to someone I love,” said Kendal Gribler, ICU nurse Valleywise Health.
Gribler has worked the ICU for eight years, saying her Ebola training was a big help when coronavirus cases started coming in near mid-March.
“We did have little bit of time when the ICU was full but it’s kind of slowing down a little bit," she said. “It’s going better than expected, I think.“
Valleywise Health has two COVID-19 units with 18 negative pressure rooms to help stop the spread.
Gribler has lost a few patients along the way. The hardest part, she says, is knowing they basically died alone because of strict visitation rules.
“Heartbreaking not only as a nurse, but I can’t imagine my family members being in that position and me not being able to be with them," she said.
The hospital has about 15 cases now, Gribler explains, some patients showing very few symptoms and others who spiral quickly.
Her happiest COVID-19 memory, she says, was the day the first patient was released.
They were cheered on by the staff to the song “Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles.
“We all know our rules, we know what we’re supposed to be doing to keep each other safe, and it has been wonderful that everybody’s been so supportive it’s just been incredible," she said.