By Frances Wang

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of temporary apartment units in Miami have been donated to the staff at Jackson Health System who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think every nurse is fearful but they’re doing best job they possibly can,” said Carla Calonge, a nurse in the emergency department at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Nurses and other health care workers like Calonge have expressed their fear of getting infected and bringing that infection back home to their loved ones.

“It’s actually been very difficult. I’ve had to get undressed in my car, spray Lysol, put my clothes in a bag, straight in the laundry, jump straight to a hot shower,” explained Calonge. “I’m fearful [of exposing] anyone I love.”

Calonge’s daughter is also in the health care field, working as a senior ER technician at the pediatric emergency department at Holtz Children’s Hospital.

Worrying about where to sleep is just one of many challenges health care workers have been facing while fighting this virus on the frontlines.

“You and I are so stressed in our homes, imagine how frontline workers feel in their heightened state of stress,” said city of Miami commissioner Ken Russell. “They want to go home and relax but they can’t. They feel they’re bringing this home with them.”

But now thanks to the Jose Milton Family and United Property Management, 295 apartments, fully furnished, have been donated. Utilities will also be free. The apartments will be available for 30 days, with weekly extensions as required. The overall donation amounts to 2.2 million dollars.

“It gives me piece of mind,” said Calonge. “I don’t have to bring potentially disease home to loved ones [and I’m] grateful for the opportunity to stay there.”

Recently, Russell had also put together a meals program with Uber Eats for 2500 nurses and doctors also at Jackson Health System. He hopes to bring people who can help with people who need the help together.

However, there is a need for more places to stay like these apartments. Commissioner Russell said the 295 apartments were filled up within 3 days.

“We can’t meet that capacity. Just a small dent in that problem,” said Russell, asking for those who have housing capabilities to step up.”

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Frances Wang

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