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Valley nurse opens up about contracting COVID-19 while working in California

Posted at 4:04 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 22:10:40-04

PHOENIX — Cynthia Uriarte is a nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Downtown Phoenix. At the beginning of the year, she decided to take a travel assignment at a hospital in Riverside, California.

In early April, Uriarte was positively tested for COVID-19 after working with a patient who later tested positive for the virus.

"I took care of [the patient] like three weeks ago for three days in a row with like no protective gear because at the time we had no idea," said Uriarte. She added that two of her coworkers in Riverside also have COVID-19.

"It's overwhelming," said Uriarte, who proceeded to talk about her symptoms. "I was having a back ache, like a really sharp lower back pain. Then the back ache got worse and I started having a headache. The headache was a just a frontal headache, just like my forehead, kind of like a pressure. Then that night I started getting chills."

Uriarte has been staying at her aunt's home in Riverside, and since testing positive, has been living in her cousin's bedroom.

"I have to take my temperature every morning and evening, and it's just a small room basically," said Uriarte. "I have a window though, thankfully, I try to open it as much as I can."

Sunday will mark two weeks of quarantine for Uriarte, who has officially ended her travel assignment in Riverside, and will be returning back to work at St. Joseph's this week.

She said there is a sense of relief she feels after having experienced COVID-19.

"Now I know what it feels like, at least my case, even though it was mild," said Uriarte. "Now I can say I've had it and I've hopefully made enough antibodies to, you know, protect me against it."