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Exhausted area hospital nurse gives heartwrenching plea for COVID-19

A hardworking Arkansas nurse is pleading with residents of the state to stay in and heed the warnings about the Coronavirus while posting a selfie of her obviously tired face following a hospital shift.

Alena Steed Ritchie seemed to reach a breaking point as she sat in her early this morning, calling it a "mini-meltdown."

The reason for her distress is that she had just left her hospital job at Baptist Health with COVID-19 cases.

In a social media post, she told about her "new normal," which includes having to strip out of her clothes in the garage and walk in her home "basically without any clothes on" to immediately place her scrubs in the washing machine.

"I will continue to go to work," Ritchie said. "If they need me as an experienced nurse with almost any skill set, I will go wherever they need me as times continue."

What worries her, however, is that she could accidentally infect her own family.

"It completely blows my mind that while I am taking every precaution to protect my family, [I] risk exposing them and myself in the midst of this pandemic."

The talented hospital nurse, who was formerly employed by Dierksen Hospice, does not hold back her disbelief of Arkansans who are not taking the Center for Disease Control warnings seriously.

"There remain so many of you making stupid, unnecessary choices," Ritchie said. "As I scrolled through Facebook, I noticed restaurant after restaurant full last night in Texarkana — a town that has a positive COVID-19 patient on a ventilator."

The nurse remembered all the times she has heard parents say they would "die" for their children and do "anything" to protect them.

To these parents, she gave this stark warning: "Know that by exposing yourself to public crowds, you are basically playing Russian roulette with the life of all those in your family," she said.

"Let THAT soak in," she added. "What if two weeks from now as ICU beds were full one of the screening questions they asked you... to receive a ventilator versus the person behind you was [whether] you complied with the CDC recommendations for social isolation."

To sum up her concerns, the caring nurse had a message for her friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens: "This is not a time when ignorance is bliss — I assure you."

Photo credit: Facebook page of Alena Steed Ritchie
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