‘What a slap in the face’: PEC nurse pleads with public to follow COVID-19 health measures

Click to play video: 'Emergency room nurse pleas with public to follow COVID-19 lockdown and public health measures' Emergency room nurse pleas with public to follow COVID-19 lockdown and public health measures
Louisa Florio expresses frustration with people who ignore gathering limits in Ontario – Apr 18, 2021

An emergency room nurse at the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital recently took to social media talking about the challenges she’s facing as a front-line health-care worker during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s 4 a.m. and I’m awake crying in bed,” Louisa Florio wrote April 12.

Read more: Hastings Prince Edward health unit receives ‘increasing reports’ of people not self-isolating

“Over this past week, we have treated active COVID patients in our tiny PEC hospital. In a matter of a few days a previously healthy 35yr old, was intubated and is now dead,” she said.
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The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health unit would not confirm this death but data from the province says a woman in her 30s died April 1 in the area.

What made matters worse for the Prince Edward County nurse was seeing gatherings on her drive home from work.

“After working my 12-hour shift on Saturday, (which was apparently a beautiful day, that I didn’t get to enjoy because I was gowned up, wearing a face shield and mask, hoping I didn’t bring COVID home to my family) on my short 15-minute drive home, I passed three homes that had outside gatherings of at least 10-20 people,” she wrote.

“What a slap in the face.”

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Ontario hospitals ‘hit harder than ever’ in 3rd COVID-19 wave: Elliott – Apr 16, 2021

In an interview Sunday, Florio said she’s growing tired, to the point where roughly a week ago she says she woke up in tears before making that post, which has now been shared almost 1,000 times.

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“It was just to let the community and public know that it’s hard, it’s hard right now,” she said in a tearful interview.

As of Sunday, there are 12 local people hospitalized in the region, five in intensive care units and one ventilated. This does not include patients transferred to the region from other parts of the country, which the health unit does not count on its dashboard.

On Monday, the province reported 2,202 hospitalizations and 755 people in Ontario ICUs, another all-time high.

Read more: Randy Hillier hosts ‘end the COVID-19 lockdown’ march in Belleville

On Friday, the local health unit said it had received “increasing reports” of people not following COVID-19 self-isolation orders over the past few weeks.

Also on Friday, more than 100 people marched through Belleville to protest lockdown measures.

This hasn’t been lost on the health-care community, Florio said.

“Seeing those homes I drive by every day, and you know the vehicles you see, you know who’s there. Aeeing vehicles I’ve never seen, volumes of people I know shouldn’t be together,” Florio said.

Still, Florio says the responses she’s received after making her feelings public on Facebook have been overwhelmingly positive.

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“I feel support and I feel my message of frustration and education that we need to be safer really did go out,” she said.

With the province reporting more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases on a regular basis, Florio made one last appeal to the public.

“Adhere to the guidelines, they’re here to protect us, protect our community, and get your vaccine.

— With files from Global News’ Alexandra Mazur and Ryan Rocca

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