KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two Knoxville residents are volunteering two weeks of their time to help with COVID-19 efforts in New Jersey. One of them — Devan Fox, is also the daughter of Knox County Mayor, Glenn Jacobs.
Devan and her coworker, Ashlee Milligan work as medical professionals Knoxville. Devan is a nurse practitioner, Ashlee is a physicians assistant. When they heard about the devastation in other cities due to COVID-19, they felt compelled to help.
They were granted time off to go volunteer for two weeks at Clara Mass Medical Center in Belleville, New Jersey.
“It’s been humbling,” Ashlee said.
“We are helping two pulmonologists here at this hospital and neither one of them have had a day off since March 26 and each of them were seeing up to 60 to 70 patients a day,” Devan said.
In their short time there, the ladies have already witnessed the worst of the virus, saying they see at least one patient death per day.
“A lot of people think it’s a hoax. It’s not a hoax,” Devan said.
They work 12-hour days and must be covered from head to toe. They are required to be in full PPE before entering the hospital each morning.
“It is a sad situation, we’re seeing terrible things, sometimes we can’t communicate with the patients.” Ashlee said.
Devan and Ashlee say it wasn’t until they arrived and saw for themselves how this virus is impacting other parts of the country.
“It’s hard because again we weren’t hit like they were up here so my perspective now is I’m glad we’re taking it slow and I hope that these step wise processes allow us enough time to see if there is going to look like there’s a surge down there,” Ashlee said.
“A lot of people are alone in a hospital bed and they can’t see their family members and if you have the opportunity to be with your family member and hug your family member or tell them that you love them or anyone that’s important to you, you should do that because it can be taken away from you in an instant,” Devan said.
Devan and Ashlee are expected to return to Knoxville May 9.