Texas couple separates from 3-year-old daughter to protect her from coronavirus

BRYAN, Texas (KTRK) -- A Bryan nurse's emotional video about separating from her daughter has gone viral and has brought attention to the plight of nurses and first responders.

A Bryan couple said they had to separate from their daughter to protect her from possible exposure to coronavirus.

Devon Oechsle sits in her living that she describes as eerily quiet.

"Sometimes as parents you say, 'I just want some quiet,' but no," Oechsle said. "I wouldn't trade it. Not this."

Oechsle is a nurse and her husband is a first responder. She said while working, they both came into contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19.

"I'm a walking virus is what it feels like," Oechsle said. "Me and my husband are fortunate to be in those fields to help people. It's what we're supposed to do, but there is a price and it really stinks."

Their 3-year-old daughter, who goes by Ellie, joined her on a Facetime call, just 15 minutes away from their home.

"I miss home," Ellie said to her mother.

Oechsle said her friend Anita Graziano offered to step in and help take care of Ellie a few weeks ago. On Tuesday, the Oechsles took Graziano's offer and asked if Ellie could stay with her until further notice.

"To protect her, we had to send her away and that's, like, the worst feeling in the world," Oechsle said. "I don't know when my last exposure is going to be."

Oechsle said she felt people were not understanding the severity of the situation or what first responders face when they go into work every day.

She posted her experience on Facebook and made it public. In just days, her post was shared more than 67,000 times.

"The response has been overwhelmingly supportive and kind," Oechsle said. "People have even offered to send Ellie things, signed with 'Mommy.'"

She hopes their family story will spread awareness and shed some light on their new reality.

"People need to stay home so that our lives can get back to normal," Oechsle said.

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