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Ontario MPP takes on nursing shifts as province continues to fight coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario extends school closures until at least May
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday that publicly-funded schools would remain closed until at least May 1 for teachers and May 4 for students. Private schools and child care centre closures have also been extended for two weeks.

As the Ontario legislature remains suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, a Progressive Conservative MPP and a registered nurse by training has returned to the frontlines to help at a Toronto hospital.

“We all have a moral obligation to do our very best and to utilize our skills to help in the fight against [COVID-19],” Mississauga Centre MPP Natalia Kusendova told Global News Radio 640 Toronto’s Kelly Cutrara on Tuesday.

“It was a very easy decision when I heard the call for retired nurses and non-practicing nurses to return to the frontlines. I called my hospital and I booked some shifts.”

READ MORE: 260 new coronavirus cases reported in Ontario, total jumps to 1,966

Kusendova, who was elected to the legislature for the first time in June 2018, returned to work at Etobicoke General Hospital. Since the call for former nurses who stopped working within the past three years, she was able to serve at the hospital.

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When it comes to the biggest changes at the hospital since returning to the job, she cited the physical changes at the facility.

For instance, Kusendova said staff are now being redirected to a dedicated entrance through the basement in order to be screened by security and given masks. She also said patients who are believed to have COVID-19 must enter the hospital through a dedicated isolation unit. Kusendova said visitors have been banned from the emergency department except for those accompanying seniors and children.

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In recent days, Kusendova has been posting updates on Twitter about working nursing shifts but also about government-related business. She has received praise from several users, but she has also been fielding questions and concerns about the availability of personal protective equipment.

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Kusendova said serving as a MPP and working as a nurse, both positions give her a unique role in government.

“I see myself as the voice for nurses within our legislature,” she said.

As of Monday afternoon, the Ontario government said there were 1,966 cases of COVID-19 in the province. In total, 33 Ontario residents have died and 534 cases have been deemed resolved.

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