By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Medical professionals are not only working to save lives but also slow the spread of the coronavirus among others in hospitals.

“I’m practicing extreme social distancing,” Dr. Stuart Bussey with the Union of American Physicians and Dentists told CBS4 News on Skype.

The doctor is in the high-risk category for contracting for contracting COVID-19 because of his age. Like many, that’s a risk he’s willing to take to continue helping others. During his interview, he wore a mask.

“I saw about five or 10 patients [Monday] and I asked them to put gowns and masks on,” he said.

The Miami Beach High alumnus still has two sisters living in Miami-Dade. But the doctor is now working in California.

People in that state have come out of retirement to help. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed executive Monday allowing the same in Florida. The list also includes law enforcement officers and first responders.

Since many are likely to high-risk, Dr. Bussey wants them to be careful and use their discretion.

“Go home. Use sick leave. Take administrative time off if there’s any sort of question,” he said.

Medical professionals in South Florida have tested positive for the virus, including Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya and longtime ICU nurse Araceli Buendia Ilagan.

“She’s our first to fall. That’s hard,” Martha Baker said of Ilagan, who passed away from the disease. “She’s the first and she may not be the last. We just have to be extra careful.”

Baker is the president for SEIU LOCAL 1991. She told CBS4’s Jim DeFede nurses are concerned over safety so they can keep helping those in need.

“When they call, they don’t talk about themselves. They talk about needing equipment to do their jobs safely,” she said.

Baker said Jackson Health has assured her there are enough masks and gloves for workers. But she has been hearing from employees that personal protective equipment has been slow to arrive or distributed.

“It’s not showing up fast enough. They’re feeling like it’s not there. I’m trying to push management to deliver faster,” Baker said.

As for Dr. Bussey, he says more testing for everyone will held get a handle on the virus.

“This is World War III even, if you want to look at it like that. We have an invisible enemy. There are trillions of them. We can’t see them but we have to outsmart them,” he said.

For more info on both unions and to support workers, visit or

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Ty Russell