Newton nurse travels to New York City to help fight COVID-19

NEWTON, Kan. (KWCH) A Newton nurse is experiencing firsthand the shortage of protective equipment for health care workers in New York City in the epicenter of COVID-19.

LaShay Rhodes wanted to help join the fight against COVID-19, so she signed up on Thursday with an agency sending healthcare workers to New York City.

Within hours, the agency told her to book her flight. Rhodes arrived in New York City Friday morning.

“There’s not really a choice, somebody has to come out here,” said Rhodes. “Somebody has to do this.”

Rhodes said Saturday morning she, along with nurses from across the country, arrived at a hospital 45 minutes outside of New York City.

But due to a shortage of N95 masks, the nurses had to return to their hotel shortly after. She fears they may have already contracted the virus.

“I’m quite terrified wondering what’s going to happen and if we will start showing symptoms soon,” said Rhodes.

She said N95 masks aren’t the only supplies they need.

“There’s no supplies, I was looking for Clorox wipes to wipe my shoes when I get back to the hotel,” I don’t have any, there’s none available in New York right now,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes is asking for help from back home. She said the nurses need homemade masks for them to use at the hotel, where nearly 1,000 healthcare workers are staying, to keep from spreading the virus to one another.

“If anybody has the time and materials and the ability to help, these homemade masks that would be so helpful,” said Rhodes.

For now, she said the agency she’s working with is waiting for the N95 masks before the nurses can work with patients.

She says not being able to help the nurses and doctors directly is the worst feeling.

“They were crying when we were there and to know that I’m sitting here fully equipped to help and not be able to do what I can do is the worst feeling in the world,” Rhodes said.

She will be working in New York City for 21 days, and will need to quarantine once she’s done.

If you’d like to help with supplies, they can be sent to the hotel to LaShay Rhodes’ attention, 870 7th Ave, New York, NY, 10019.