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'I’m excited. I’m scared. I’m nervous': Georgia nurse joins coronavirus fight in New York

The state is considered the epicenter for the COVID-19 in the U.S. Medical professionals have been called on from across the county to help.

ATLANTA — There are more than 90,000 health care workers volunteering to help New York face the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those volunteers, 28,000 are from out of state. Today Samantha Sansone will leave her home in Georgia to join that fight. 

Sansone announced her decision to go to New York through a Facebook post. In it, she describes a picture her mom took on her first day as a nurse. 

“The girl in this picture had no idea she would transfer to her dream job in the PICU and she definitely didn’t see the COVID19 crisis coming,” Sansone wrote.

“I really wanted to make a difference. We’re so short-staffed. I was only working two days a week, and I thought, ‘God gave me all of these skills. I hate just sitting down at home and not putting them to use,” Sansone said, “I started asking my manager how she would feel if I went to New York.”

Credit: WXIA

New York is considered the epicenter for the Coronavirus in the United States. More than 130,000 New York City residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Roughly 1 in 4 Americans who have died from COVID-19 live in New York City.

She is documenting her journey through a video diary. 

“No big decision like this is going to be comfortable,” explained Sansone, “I’m going alone. I’m not going with a nursing friend or anything like that…but I know it’s what I need to do, and it’s why God put me on this earth and put me through nursing school.”

Nearly 10,000 self-identified health care professionals have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 27 have died to date.

“I was actually talking with my patient’s mom who also had COVID. She said her brain felt like mashed potatoes, is how she described it. She said the fever is constant. It drives you nuts. You can’t even walk downstairs to get a glass of water. You’re just in agony, so yes, I’m very afraid of that happening to me,” Sansone said.

She is leaving behind her fiancé, Brendan, and dog, Cooper. Although it was a tough decision, she says it is an important one. 

“I think one day this is going to be in the history books, and to be able to tell my children and grandchildren that I went to the most densely populated area to go help…it’s what I have to do,” Sansone said.

The day before Sansone left for New York, 478 New Yorkers died of COVID-19. This is the lowest single-day number in weeks. Even so, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said their emergency rooms are still at or over capacity in Mondays’ press briefing. “[Frontline workers] are the ones that are carrying us through this crisis, and this crisis is not over,” Cuomo said.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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