AN INTENSIVE care nurse has been killed by the coronavirus after caring for Covid-19 patients in Miami for weeks.
Araceli Buendia Ilagan, 63, died after suffering complications from the killer bug, Jackson Memorial Hospital confirmed yesterday.
Hospital bosses said in a statement: "Our Jackson Health System family is mourning the death of longtime Jackson nurse Araceli Buendia Ilagan, who recently died from complications of COVID-19.
"Araceli dedicated nearly 33 years of her life treating some of our most critically ill patients."
They added: “As we battle this global public health crisis, caregivers throughout the world are bravely serving on the front lines, often putting their patients’ lives before theirs.
“These medical professionals — people like Araceli — are the true heroes, and we salute them all.”
The Miami Herald described mentor Araceli as a "longtime Jackson Memorial ICU nurse who had trained younger nurses".
Working for Jackson Health for decades, since joining in the 1980s, she had apparently completed her final shift at ICU on Tuesday.
Officials said it was not clear when Araceli became ill with Covid-19, or how many patients and colleagues might have been exposed to the new bug.
Martha Baker – a former colleague – paid tribute to her, telling the Herald: "She was an ICU nurse, and she was a wonderful person and a great caregiver."
My dearest sister, we admired you for your dedication… you're a true 'hero' in this fight against Covid-19.
Her distraught brother, Roy Buendia, paid a poignant tribute to his "dearest sister" on Facebook.
He posted: "As a frontliner in this Covid-19, we need to sacrifice many things as we don't know what might happen today, tomorrow and the coming days.
"We do all our best to care for all those suffering from this virus without the proper protection and equipments in our workplace (hospital) knowing that we are very susceptible of being infected.
"My sister, Araceli Buendia Ilagan, a nurse in Miami, Florida, since 1981, was a victim of this Covid-19.
"She was nursing those patients with the said virus in their hospital and unfortunately contracted and became unwell."
He added that Araceli "preferred to self-isolate for days, however she lost her battle and sadly passed away early this morning.
"My dearest sister, we admired you for your dedication on your profession… you're a true 'hero' in this fight against Covid-19."
Jackson’s health workers said on Facebook: “Our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are working around-the-clock caring for our most vulnerable patients during this Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are stressed and scared, and yet put on brave faces for our families, friends, and each other. We are staying at work to ensure the health of our patients and encourage you to stay home to stop the spread of #COVID19.
“Our Emergency Departments at Jackson Memorial Hospital and Jackson South continue to work tirelessly around-the-clock providing care to patients.”
The Miami Herald said yesterday that Florida has reported more than 4,000 people diagnosed with the coronavirus, while the death toll has soared to about 60 patients.
It said that South Florida is "ground zero for the state's outbreak" as Miami-Dade County has over 1,000 cases.
CNN reports that there are "at least 130,478 Covid-19 cases in the US".
More than 2,300 people have died of the disease so far.
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