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ST. GEORGE — As health care workers do their part in the fight against COVID-19, a St. George nurse is now fighting her own battle. Toni Ferguson said she contracted the virus at work, and her husband is fighting for his life in the ICU.
Ferguson and her husband, Clyde, both in their 60s, discussed the possibility of COVID-19 exposure. She works in a nursing home where there are patients with coronavirus. On June 12, she started feeling a tickle in her throat followed by a small cough.
“I thought the cough was caused by maybe water that went down the wrong pipe,” Ferguson said. “But I called my manager and was sent immediately home.”
After testing positive she tried her best to isolate from her husband.
“I have felt guilty about bringing it home especially as sick as Clyde has gotten,” she said. “I bounce back-and-forth between managing and depression.”
Her husband felt symptoms days after her and battled the virus from home for nearly two weeks. But when his oxygen levels reached dangerously low levels he went to the hospital and was placed on a ventilator.
“The doctors are saying this could be a three or four or five-week-long process and don’t lose hope but it’s really hard to do that when you can’t be there,” she said.
As a healthcare worker, Toni said although she has experience with COVID-19 positive patients, this case is different.
“As a nurse, I can detach myself and look at everything clinically but as a wife, I can’t,” she said. “I hate calling (my husband’s) nurses in the mornings because I know that it’s going to be you know another bout of bad news.”
She feels the only thing she can do now is support her husband’s nurses as she treats her own COVID-19 patients, a request from her manager.
“He said ‘if you’re not too sick, could you come in and work with these patients because we’re having trouble finding nurses who are willing to work with them,’ and I told them I would absolutely work I need to get out of the house,” she said.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe* to help with the Ferguson family’s hospital expenses.
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