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Valley nurses to rent second homes to prevent exposing their families to COVID-19

Abrazo to close Maryvale hospital in December
Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 22:18:36-04

PHOENIX — Medical staff are on the front-lines of the covid-19 pandemic and as they work to stop the spread and save those who are suffering, they also worry about how their jobs can affect their loved one’s health.

"A lot of nurses have vulnerable family members at home.”

As a solution, a group of Valley nurses created a Facebook group called #frontlinehouses hoping they can find second homes for rent. The group is led by Jason Odhner, an Intensive Care Unit Nurse, he says with this initiative nurses and other medical staff can move in together and prevent their loved ones from being exposed to the virus.

"A lot of nurses have vulnerable family members at home. A lot of us live with elderly people or immune-compromised people,” said Odhner.

Odhner says he worked in the treatment unit during the Ebola crisis in West Africa. After his experience, he says living apart can help to minimize the risk of infecting their loved ones while having some sense of family.

"There's difficulties ahead, stressful days ahead, we know how important it is to look out for one another emotionally and spiritually during stressful times," said Odhner.

How would Frontline Houses work?

Odhner says nurses and other hospital workers can move in and share space with the understanding the rules must be followed. Some of those house rules would be that all residents must take their temperature daily and post it on a whiteboard, dirty scrubs in the house won’t be allowed, residents must shower after every shift and wipe down all surfaces frequently. Most importantly he says, they should treat each other like family and understand it is not free housing.

"We're looking for places that can rent month to month leases, a couple of hundred dollars per bedroom. Remember we're still paying mortgages for the houses where our families are living in," said Odhner.

But is it fair that they must pay for second homes?

As of today, he says he hasn't reached out to the governor's office for help, but he hopes this message gets to him as well as his concerns about testing for the virus in our state.

"The number of people to get tested and the process is not adequate and that leaves us with no idea of how many cases are in the community, we really don't know," said Odhner.

If you would like to help or if you are a hospital worker interested in co-housing look for the hashtag #frontlinehouses on Facebook.