Friends, family mourn death of Henry Ford Health nurse who died from COVID-19

Lisa Ewald was supposed to turn 54-years-old Saturday

DETROIT – Doctors and nurses are the heroes on the frontlines of the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Health care professionals are going to work every day to try and save lives.

Lisa Ewald, a woman who spent two decades as a nurse, died from COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The Dearborn woman was supposed to turn 54-years-old Saturday.

Ewald worked as a nurse at Henry Ford Hospital. She is one of the first health care workers in Michigan to lose her life to COVID-19.

Ewald’s family says the nurse suspected she had coronavirus after treating a patient with chest pains last month -- the patient later tested positive for COVID-19. Ewald’s family says she was not wearing a protective mask at the time.

Ewald didn’t show symptoms at first, and was denied the ability to take a COVID-19 test on two occasions, according to her family. The nurse later developed symptoms and was able to take a COVID-19 test.

Ewald received a positive test result for COVID-19 on Monday and was found dead at her home on Wednesday by a nurse conducting a welfare check.

Ewald’s family says the long-time nurse’s death is a devastating loss for them and the health care community.

“As healthcare providers on the frontlines of this pandemic, we know we are not immune to its traumatic effects,” said Henry Ford officials in a statement. “We continue to fight with every resource we have to protect our employees and provide the safest care to our patients.”

As hospitals across the county face a shortage of medical equipment and employees, Ewald’s death is a stark reminder of the ultimate sacrifice being made by health care workers amid the pandemic.

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

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?

Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

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.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

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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