Minnesota nurse heads to New York City to answer call for help

Lisseth DeGracia is a nurse from Shakopee, Minnesota who is helping to fight the COVID-19 crisis in New York City.

Health professionals from across the country are now heading to New York City to join the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is a nurse from Minnesota.

“If you don’t have a healthcare crisis in your state, please come help us in New York now,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a press conference. “We need relief.”

Gov. Cuomo is making a plea for help as New York has become the epicenter of a pandemic.

Lisseth DeGracia, a nurse from Shakopee, is among the brave answering the call.

“Anybody who has the skill, the background, has the availability and the opportunity to do it, should do it,” said DeGracia.

For 10 years, Lisseth DeGracia was an ER nurse at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. She is now a nurse at Children’s Minnesota. She’s taking a leave of absence to go work at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, easily the hardest hit hospital in New York City.

“If I was in the position that those nurses are in now and we didn’t have help and we couldn’t get help, I can’t even imagine how that would feel,” said DeGracia.

She knows she’s entering a war zone, where refrigerated trucks are being brought in to house the dead and pop-up tents are being used as hospitals. She’s even been asked to bring her own personal protective gear if she has it.

“There’s nothing I can probably do to even help myself be even a little prepared for it,” said DeGracia.

She says she feels it’s her duty to help, and hopefully she’ll come back with knowledge that will help her better serve when the surge hits home.

“Everyone that’s going to New York is going to come back a little more prepared to take care of it in the future,” she said.

DeGracia is a single mother of three. Once she comes home from her 13 weeks in New York, she's been advised to quarantine for 14 days. While it’s a long time to be away from her children, she says it’s a sacrifice she's willing to make.