Coldspring nurse who's been in New York since April returns home

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There will be no breaks for a Coldspring nurse who just returned from New York City after 13 weeks of caring for COVID-19 patients there.

Erica Blair, a registered nurse, arrived home Friday morning. She had been gone since April 20th, working 12 hour shifts, four days a week at a public hospital in Manhattan.

She and a friend took a leave of absence from their hospital in Kingwood when the situation in the Houston area was much different.

"When I left Texas, I definitely didn't expect to see the surge we're seeing right now. So, it was a little disheartening," Blair told ABC13.

Before she left, the single mother, was already caring for COVID-19 patients. She did not want to put her two children at risk and knew she was needed elsewhere.

"I wanted to take my skills where they were needed most and I had heard about New York and the nurses were really struggling," she said. "As a nurse, I wanted to help."

Her parents cared for her children, with whom she video chatted every day. It was her first trip to New York City. It was no vacation.

"When I got there, the patients I had were really sick. They all had COVID-19. I was running around from room to room, trying to get their oxygen levels up or there were patients that were transferred from the ICU and they were DNR, which is 'Do Not Resuscitate. They were basically being transferred there to pass away because they needed the ICU beds," she explained. "Then, towards the end, I started seeing more patients recovering, and my last shift, I didn't have any COVID patients. So, it got better."

Blair said her fellow nurses were grateful for her sacrifice. Nursing is a community based on teamwork, she said. Next week, she will return to her Kingwood hospital, a little less apprehensive about this new virus. She never got sick. She will also be ready to share what she has learned.

"I'm glad I got the experience because now I can go back to my community and do my job more efficiently."

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