One Northeast Arkansas nurse is experiencing first hand the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deanna Hogard is a nurse at St. Bernard’s Medical Center in Jonesboro, who made the decision last week to travel to New Jersey, considered a “hot spot” in coronavirus cases, to work in one of the busiest hospitals during this time.

Deanna is sharing her experiences to not only update how she is doing for her family and friends but also to let people here in Northeast Arkansas know the seriousness of this virus. We are sharing her story, in her words.

First of all, thank you to everyone who has messaged and commented. I wish we could respond to each person individually, but we are working long, hard days! So this is our 1st week update from New Jersey.
My friends, the Botosans, reached out to me not long before we arrived. This amazing couple offered their guest house to us. Since arriving, they have went above and beyond! Home cooked, amazing meals! We have completely separate areas and designated drop off spots for our meals so no contact is made. We are so blessed to have a safe place to live with beautiful scenery and caring friends!
Next, everyone has asked if it’s as bad as the news portrays. The answer is, quite simply, yes! I’ve nursed influenza patients for years and there is absolutely no comparison. I work on a covid 19 unit that has way passed it’s capacity. In fact, the whole hospital is a covid unit. Five floors of nothing but covid. My floor has 60 rooms on it, and now putting two patients to each room. Yes, a lot recover and we get to send them home, but I can’t tell you how many codes we run every day! The rate at which this virus kills is baffling. Often Within just a few hours of symptom onset. I’ve never seen anything like it. These people can’t have family with them, so I try to keep them motivated and spend as much time as I can in each room so that they will have some human interaction. Even if all they can see is my eyes! They think my accent is cute😂
Unfortunately even if they make it through the day, you don’t see all of them the next. There are ventilators throughout the hospital, not just the ICU. It’s not just the elderly either!
I call and update the families each day and they are all so scared and all so appreciative. I can hear the cracks in their voices as they express their gratitude. That brings tears to my eyes every time!
Lastly, On a positive note, we walk outside to a beautiful view at the end of a hard day. We come “home” to a nourishing meal and rest in a safe place. We have amazing support from our family and friends back home. We miss them terribly! We are thankful and blessed.

After Mrs. Hogard returns home from her time in New Jersey, she will remain in quarantine for 14 days. She posted this advice to everyone. …

I will quarantine when my assignment is completed. I have enforced social distancing in my house, and it will continue in my absence. My hope is that you all understand how important it is to stay home! It only takes one adult to get your necessities from the store. Go get what you need. Wear a mask if you can. Sanitize it all when you get home, then take a shower!  We all are making sacrifices during this time. Be smart. Stay home! Wash your hands!!!

We would like to thank Deanna Hogard for sharing her story. We would also like to thank her for the very difficult work she is doing and let her know how much her sacrifices are appreciated. Our prayers are with her and all healthcare workers.