FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Every breath is a struggle.
These are the images that haunt Rublas Ruiz, a 41-year-old ICU nurse at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami.
“The fear in their eyes when they can’t get enough air. They are so scared,” he says, quietly. “Their eyes are big, desperate to get the oxygen and that makes me so sad.”
He sits on their bed, grasps their hand, strokes their cheek and prays.
While other nurses rotate in and out of the COVID-19 ICU unit to limit their exposure to the virus, he’s asked to stay permanently.
He says it's his calling, playing the role of nurse and family as one patient after another dies.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.