An 'Upsetting' Virus Sacrifice: Doctors, Nurses Leave Loved Ones

Health care workers self-isolate away from their families so they don't infect them
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 6, 2020 8:32 AM CDT
First Responders Already Risk Health, Now Many Isolate
In this Wednesday photo, Lisa Neuburger stands with her dog by the camper she's living in and the chalk message she made in her former in-laws' driveway in St. Paul Park, Minn. Neuburger is living in the camper after being exposed to the coronavirus as an ICU nurse.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Lisa Neuburger, a 37-year-old nurse in Minnesota, recently had a hospital scare that led her to believe she may have been exposed to the coronavirus. And so, to protect her family, Neuburger moved from her parents' home, where she'd been living with her 11-year-old son, and into a camper. Even though she doesn't know when she'll be able to hug her son again, she's glad she chose to self-isolate—especially since she began feeling sick five days after that hospital scare. Holed up in that camper as she awaits the results of a COVID-19 test, Neuburger is among countless doctors and nurses around the world choosing to move to hotels, tents, garages, and other temporary housing to protect their loved ones, even as they risk exposing themselves to a virus that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, including a number of medical workers, per the AP.

Hotels, business owners, and people who run Airbnb rentals are among those offering lodging, sometimes for free, to doctors and nurses needing to self-isolate. Social media is full of efforts to match medical professionals with temporary housing. One Facebook group connects RV owners with medical workers; in Ireland, a real estate company has used Instagram to offer empty apartments. The extra layer of isolation means those who are risking their own health to save the lives of others are now sacrificing even more as they resign themselves to virtual contact with their kids, parents, and spouses. "It's upsetting, even though you know it's the right decision," says Mica Sosa, a Phoenix nurse who moved into a friend’s empty condo a few weeks ago. As for Neuburger, "sometimes I just sit here and cry," she says. "But ... I feel like I sleep better knowing I'm not possibly infecting my family." More here, including details on the scare that spurred Neuburger to move.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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