CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte woman is part of a team treating the most severe COVID-19 patients in New York City.
“We have to go through the whole process needed, to be able to be safe,” Brittany Akinsola said, via video call.
Akinsola is part of the team at North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse’s emergency relief hospital, set up in New York’s Central Park. She left her home in Charlotte to treat the sickest COVID-19 patients in one of the hardest-hit areas.
“Gloves, gowns, we have masks here, we have hairnets,” she said, walking through various tents within the field hospital.
Akinsola will work in the hospital’s 10-bed ICU unit.
“This will be my home for three weeks,” she said, standing within its walls.
She is one of 70 volunteers there. Like the others alongside her, for Akinsola, this means leaving her family in Charlotte - her husband and 1-year-old son.
“We left our families knowing that we were coming here to serve a very specific purpose,” she said. “And so we’re very excited for the opportunity.”
When WBTV spoke with her Wednesday, it was just hours before the hospital started taking patients.
“I’ve been to New York to visit many times,” she said. “But I never would’ve thought we’d be here serving in this capacity right now.”
Akinsola said touching down in New York has felt different than being back home.
“[In North Carolina] there is fear around it, even when you go out now there’s some masks, and gloves, and different things, people are very hyper-aware,” she said. “But in New York City, it’s on another level.”
Her team is now starting work with a local hospital to help provide some relief. She will be responsible for two very sick patients at a time, in the ICU.
Akinsola said she hopes people back at home in Charlotte are taking this pandemic seriously, but can find be uplifted by what she and her team are doing.
“I would hope that in seeing us be here, if people are feeling fearful, that they would see a glimmer of hope,” she said.