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Moyers sees pandemic up close

By Michael Butler

For 13 weeks, Tasha Moyers has been face to face with the coronavirus. Social distancing was not an option.

Moyers is an ER nurse. She and her sister Haley Deal, an ICU nurse, signed up to fight COVID-19. They traveled to Newark, NJ in April and spent the last three months in the middle of the pandemic at Beth Israel Medical Center.

"Working here locally when the virus was brand new, it was very nerve wracking going home every night in fear of bringing the virus home to my family," Moyers said. "My sister and I had both been getting emails from recruiting companies wanting us to go where the hot spots were. My husband and I talked about it. We prayed and put in applications. The next morning they're like, 'Can you come?' We were in shock."

On April 4, Moyers met with her sister who lives in Atlanta.

"I was leaving my sweet husband to home school four (kids); 14, 12, 10 and 9. The baby had a birthday while I was gone. The Tallassee Fire Department came by the house and wished him a happy birthday.

"We made the journey. My sister and I drove. The closer we got, the (more) scared we got. She was scheduled day shift. I was scheduled nights."

Newark is about ten minutes from New York City.

"I went twice," Moyers said of visiting the "Big Apple." "My sister and I went to see if we could get something to eat to go. I wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial. It was closed. I don't like crowds. It was probably a good thing."

What Moyers did see was numerous people battling for their lives due to the virus.

"When we left here everybody said it's flu-like symptoms. It's not flu-like symptoms. They may have a fever, but when they're in respiratory distress it's not comparable to the flu. It sucks the air out of them. They just can't breathe. It was rough.

The sisters get a rare break for a treat - Italian ice

"There were (some) in their 20s and 30s. It didn't discriminate. Most of the time they had high blood pressure or diabetes or some other health problem but not always."

Moyers worked 12-hour shifts.

"With that mask, I'm not going to eat at work. I'm not going to drink at work. You think I should've been scared. I just took the precautions. I didn't treat the patients any differently as far as their care."

There were 60 beds in the ER area where Moyers worked.

"When I first got there the whole hospital was coronavirus. You get a few positive outcomes but not a whole lot. I wish I could've seen more people discharged."

Now Moyers returns to work in Alabama.

"I'm still a pretty new nurse - just three years. It's been an experience. I made friends. I learned a lot. I'm so glad I was able to go."