"Now is the time to be diligent": Nurse urges Coloradans to follow safer-at-home guidelines

Posted at 3:35 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 22:57:22-04

DENVER — Wednesday was National Nurses Day, so it was fitting that at Gov. Jared Polis' news conference we heard from a nurse on the frontline of Colorado's response to COVID-19.

And Laura Rosenthal's message to Coloradans was clear: Please follow the safer-at-home guidelines as frontline workers continue to battle the virus.

"COVID-19 is unlike anything I've seen in 20 years as an experienced nurse," said Rosenthal, a registered nurse at University of Colorado Hospital and a professor at the college's nursing school.

Rosenthal emphasized the unique nature of the virus, how she's seen it affect patients of all ages, from 25 to 99. Recently, she treated a 32-year-old man who was previously healthy but was struggling to breathe in intensive care.

COVID-19 is not solely "an old people disease or sick people disease," Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal described the difficulty of communicating to patients' families, since no visitors are allowed in the intensive care unit. In one case, Rosenthal was talking to a patient's wife on the phone and wasn't able to promise that her husband would come home.

"Although you might hear about declining numbers, you need to know about the affect [of the virus]," Rosenthal said.

She encouraged Coloradans to continue social distancing and avoiding gatherings, reminding that even asymptomatic people are able to spread the virus.

"Now is the time to be diligent," Rosenthal said. "Eventually there will be a time where we can do this again, but we are not quite ready now. Nurses are out there doing their part to protect you."