After seeing the brunt of COVID-19 in New York City, one Fresno State grad says the Central Valley can rebound, too

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Simraun Kaur, who graduated in 2019, had only seven months of nursing experience when she flew to New York City

FRESNO, California (KSEE) — When New York City was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic for the country, thousands of health care workers answered the call to help.

Among them, a 2019 Fresno State nursing grad, Simran Kaur.

Kaur decided to help in March, after patient volumes declined at the hospital she was working at. The administration was encouraging staff to take a break, but she wanted to keep working.

“I wanted to be of use, I wanted to go somewhere where there was help needed,” Kaur said.

Kaur only had seven months of experience when she got hired on to work in New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Lower Manhattan.

“It was just always like, oh my god, what’s going to happen next,” she said about her work there. “There were times when people were coming into the hospital…some of them were breathing their last breaths. So, a lot of times our responsibility as nurses was to just sit there and hold their hand as they live their last moments.”

While working on the frontlines of the pandemic was scary enough, Kaur said not having her family there in a city also added to her anxiety.

But, she did find a support system in her co-workers.

“I don’t think I could’ve ever asked for anyone more encouraging or supportive,” Kaur said. “Whether it was the travel nurses that came from other states, the doctors I worked with, or the staff that was already there.”

Since then, New York City’s status as the nation’s epicenter has ended — and the Central Valley has gotten a surge of its own. Kaur said if everyone followed the health guidances, like wearing a mask properly, the Central Valley can make it through.

“It’s definitely going to take awhile, but if people start following those things and taking appropriate precautions — if New York can do it, why can’t California do it,” she said.

Kaur is planning to hit the books again. In two weeks, she’ll be starting Johns Hopkins University’s post-baccaleureate program to continue her path to becoming a doctor.

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