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Valdosta nurse returns from helping NYC battle COVID-19

Posted at 8:05 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 23:22:37-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — One Valdosta nurse practitioner is glad to be back home.

Ashli Scruggs, a nurse practitioner at The Howard Center for Women and Girls, left Georgia and went to New York City to help area hospitals as they battled COVID-19.

"With my past training and experience I thought I might be helpful up there," said Scruggs.

Once she got the all clear, Scruggs left her family and friends to help the city that never sleeps, hit hard by a growing number of coronavirus cases.

Work started immediately once she arrived, as thousands of other volunteer healthcare professionals walked into the unknown.

Although she knew the risk, Scruggs says this was something she just had to do.

"I started having these feelings like I needed to go help," said Scruggs. "And then, when it got really bad in New York City, and I started hearing about the numbers, and thinking about the people and how they really cant do anything other than stay in their apartment buildings. I felt like I was just being pulled to go help."

It wasn't always easy. The reality of the virus, some days, took a toll as people were isolated from their families.

"A lot of them just wanted me to pray with them," Scruggs said. "A lot of them wanted me to call their family and let them know, because most of them had no way to discuss, you know, what to do with their families."

This, as she was away from her family and her biggest support, her fiance Brad Jones, who is also a nurse practitioner.

"There's nothing too big or too small that she can't handle," Jones said.

The two often talked about her experience while she was away, even with her 4 a.m. wake-up call.

"I would either wake up early when she was getting off work, or she would stay up later when I was going to work," said Jones. "So we would make some time in between."

Now back home, Scruggs says, even in trying times, there is resolve.

"I've had moments where I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is insane,'" Scruggs said. "And then I had many moments where I felt like everything is going to be okay. And I feel like that now, everything is going to be okay."

Scruggs says the reality of the virus is heartbreaking, but as long as everyone continues to social distance we can flatten the curve.

Now that Scruggs is back, she will be self quarantining for 14 days.