NEW YORK — Julie Cumings has been in New York for 25 days now helping to battle COVID-19 coronavirus. Cumings works seven days a week and 12 hours a day, all in an effort to help patients get better.
"We leave our hotel at about 6 in the morning and get home at about 9 at night, and just do it every day. We do everything from passing out food trays, to passing meds, to cleaning out patients... it's intense but it's rewarding!" said Cumings.
With lower COVID-19 numbers here in Maine, Cumings packed her bags and flew to New York to help fight the virus in a hot-spot.
"It was really scary because you don't know what you're walking into, pretty much all I knew was that I was coming to New York City, what hotel I was going to, and that was it," said Cumings.
Cumings is staying at a hotel where other nurses from throughout the country are also staying, buses pick the nurses up at 6 am to work 12-hour shift in different hospitals throughout New York.
"Every day we are allowed to wait in the line, and get a new bunny suit, new shoe covers, new hat cover, new respirators...every day we are completely covered," said Cumings.
Cumings and many other nurses are doing many jobs to help with the shortage of hospital staff members.
"I certainly wasn't used to taking care of intubated patients or critically ill patients but they trained us and we knew what we were doing," said Cumings.
Her initial contract was to work for 21 straight days, 12 hours a day.
Cumings has decided to extend her work contract to help positive COVID-19 patients.
"I have chosen to extend until New York doesn't need me anymore," said Cumings.
Julie's' dad, Mark Byron, says she got into the medical field to do exactly what she is doing now, helping others when they most need it.
"A lot of people said to me...you know I wouldn't let my daughter go...well she's in the medical field...people that are sick need compassionate people to help them and that's the way Julie is," said Byron.
Byron says he is extremely proud of his daughter.
"She is compassionate, she's committed to doing what needs to be done..someone has to do it!" said Byron.
Julie will be testing herself before coming home to Maine and self quarantining for fourteen days upon her arrival. Then, she will join the nursing ranks at Maine General Health in Augusta.
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