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On April 21, Centura Health sent 34 Colorado-based caregivers to work in three COVID-19 hot spots in New Jersey. This action is in response to a request for support and resources sent by the Board Chair of the New Jersey Hospital Association, Kevin J. Slavin. New Jersey’s Governor, Phil Murphy, also implored people with medical training to help the state battle coronavirus on March 27.

New Jersey is in severe need of experienced health care workers to help fight against the pandemic. As of April 20, the state suffered 4,202 deaths from COVID-19 — roughly 10 times as many as Colorado.

The Centura health care system, which operates 15 hospitals in our centennial state, dispatched workers to the Paterson and Wayne Campuses at St. Joseph’s Health, Trinitas Regional Medical Center and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. These hospitals serve New Jersey’s worst-hit communities.

The assembled team of caregivers includes an administrative ambassador and registered nurses who normally work in the medical surgical and emergency departments at Centrura’s Colorado branches. Since elective surgeries and procedures have been postponed to halt the spread of coronavirus, they were called off from work because of the low volume of patients. Once Centura presented this mission to its staff, they filled the needed spaces quickly.

“This assignment felt right to me. The thought of people struggling and dying alone tugs at my heart; we need nurses who want to be there,” stated Mara Doyle, RN, in a press release. “I always pictured myself doing this work and I’ll be there holding any hand that needs mine.”

United Airlines provided free roundtrip travel for these health care workers. The airline’s Denver employees pulled out the stops to give them a worthy sendoff on Tuesday morning. United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, thanked them via video message. Once aboard, they were given a water cannon salute — that is, the plane passed under a fountainous arch created by two water cannons.

This content was originally published here.