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A Minnesota nurse who answered New York's call for aid in the fight against coronavirus said she wouldn't have believed the conditions in the city's beleaguered hospitals "if I didn't see it with my own eyes."
Appearing on "Fox & Friends Weekend," Lisseth DeGracia said her first week since joining the battle has been "eye-opening."
"It's been controlled chaos," she said.
"I have learned a ton. I've seen teamwork in ways I have never seen teamwork in my life. ...There's a lot of good. There's a lot of chaos, and it's just one day at a time," DeGracia added.
For 10 years, DeGracia was an ER nurse at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, according to news reports. The single mother took a leave of absence from her nursing job at the Children's Minnesota health system to join health workers on the front lines in New York.
She told host Jillian Mele that with New Yorkers quarantined or self-isolating in their houses, and non-essential businesses shuttered, there is an "eerie" quiet.
But when the nurse walked through the doors of Elmhurst Hospital in central Queens, she entered a "completely different world."
"It's night and day. Probably what New York City streets used to look like on the outside is about the pace of the inside," DeGracia added.
"I mean, there is not a quiet second. There [are] alarms, there [are] beeps, there [are] people walking and running and doing things, and patients going in and patients going upstairs and patients everywhere where there aren't usually patients," she said. "It's an experience that I think I definitely had to be a part of in order to fully understand."
DeGracia said she has experience working in an inner-city trauma unit but even that doesn't compare to Elmhurst Hospital.
To anyone who still questions the severity of the health crisis, she offered these words: "Be careful. It is real. It is happening."