BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore nurses are stepping up here in the state of Maryland to help fight COVID-19, and also, in places hit hardest by the virus.

It’s been five days on the front lines in New York City for Baltimore native and part-time nurse Darnell Jeffers.

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“The needs are great here,” Jeffers said. “The nurses are overwhelmed.”

Jeffers is a full-time student but was forced to put school on hold and work extra shifts in hospitals across Maryland.


He said that’s when he heard about New York’s desperate need for health care workers.

“When you see a nurse struggling and overwhelmed mentally, you just have to be a part of that. You have to go up and help,” Jeffers said.

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On Friday, he left behind his 12 year-old-son and family in Baltimore and drove to New York City, the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic with over 145,000 confirmed cases.

Jeffers said he’s working at Bellevue Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals in the city, and nurses are doubling up on patients.

“It’s not easy because you have patients really sick,” Jeffers said. “You have to be on your a game with these patients. One slip up, you have a big issue.”

He said every day poses a new mental challenge and fear of not knowing what to expect.

“You can’t prepare for this,” Jeffers said. “We don’t know each other, but we’re brother and sisters in this fight against COVID-19 together.”

Jeffers said he is getting compensated for his time, but all of the money is going to pay for school. He said his plan is to stay until July.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Kelsey Kushner