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‘It is scary’: Metro Detroit nurse voices concerns as she cares for coronavirus (COVID-19) patient

DETROIT – Medical professionals are often on the front lines of stressful situations, but many have never experienced anything like what is happening with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Kenisha Barkai is a nurse at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. She said she has a coronavirus patient she is directly caring for and another person whose test is pending.

MORE: Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus

“It is scary. We don’t know if we are doing enough to keep ourselves protected,” Barkai said.

She said she’s wearing protective gear when she is visiting the coronavirus patient, but she is concerned about going to see other patients afterwards because she doesn’t want to put them at risk.

Barkai is also worried about running out of protective gear or the hospital being overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

As of Wednesday, there are 110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan.

The Detroit Medical Center released a statement:

Our top priority is making sure our patients, our staff, and our community remain safe. We routinely treat infectious diseases at our hospitals and we have strong infection control policies, procedures, and systems in place to screen and treat patients. The DMC has taken the appropriate steps, and we have trained professionals and the necessary equipment to react accordingly. We can safely and appropriately care for our patients with the necessary supplies and equipment.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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