NEW HYDE PARK, NY — Five Long Island Northwell Health nurses traveled to Houston to lend a hand at two Texas church testing sites. Their decision to volunteer outside of the state came as an answer to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call for health care workers to provide assistance to other cities and states fighting a surge in positive coronavirus cases amid the ongoing pandemic.
Four of the nurses are based at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, and the fifth works at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. While speaking over Zoom Monday, the nurses expressed that it was a "no-brainer" to volunteer for this assignment, where their work would take place in neighborhoods composed largely of people of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We came down here together as a team. Back in New York, we were hit very hard by COVID-19 at the beginning. Now, we felt it was our time to give back to the communities that are going through this now," said North Shore University Hospital Nurse Shiney Paul. "It’s been an honor to work with Governor Cuomo’s team and my co-workers."
Andrew Roberts, the project manager for emergency deployment at Northwell, said the nurses have been tasked with setting up satellite testing sites in underserved communities, as well as registering and swabbing those who come for testing.
The nurses are also providing education to local communities about the importance of wearing masks, quarantining if symptomatic or tested positive, maintaining proper hand hygiene and social distancing.
“When Governor Cuomo asked if we could lend support to other states, we were proud that Northwell stepped up to get involved,” Roberts said. “These five people left their homes, their families and their friends ... We are so grateful to them, and so proud.”
The five nurses who volunteered to travel to Houston are:
Kristine Chan, RN, North Shore University Hospital
Lauren Ann Henry, RN, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Anjanette Rosario, RN, North Shore University Hospital
Shiney Paul, RN, North Shore University Hospital
Timothy Verhey, RN, North Shore University Hospital.