DC school nurse tests positive for coronavirus after group training at DC Health

A D.C. school nurse has tested positive for coronavirus and she believes she got it during training sessions at D.C’s department of health earlier this month.

Wala Blegay, with D.C. Nurses Association, said there were dozens of nurses who attended the training. She said at least one additional nurse has tested positive and others are showing symptoms.

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The nurse who spoke to FOX 5 didn’t want to be identified. She said she attended a weeklong training at D.C. Health April 2 to April 9.

“I developed a temperature of 101.6, having diarrhea, loss of appetite, loss of taste,” said the nurse. “I haven’t ate for 11 days.”

After D.C schools closed, school nurses had the choice to temporarily lose their paycheck or take on a new role working from home, answering calls from people with COVID-19 symptoms. But to do that, they needed training at D.C. Health. The nurse says there were more than 20 other nurses in her weeklong training session and CDC guidelines were not followed.

She said nurses sat near each other and they did not have masks.

”People who are training you are over you, no masks,” she said. “Doctors in and out, explaining the procedures. They have no masks.”

She said she had issues with her computer and trainers were close to her to help with the problems.

Then last week nurses got an email from their employer, Children’s School Services, informing them a D.C. Health staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

It’s not clear if it was someone involved in the training. A second email from Children’s School Services states: “It was determined that the nurse did not acquire COVID-19 from the DC Health employee who tested positive earlier this month.”

Blegay said she doesn’t know how that could be determined. Regardless of how the nurse contracted the virus, other nurses are worried.

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“I had one that called, she’s been coughing the last couple days, so she’s concerned that she’s been exposed and she has an underlying health condition,” said Blegay. “A lot of them are just nervous and concerned now that they put their health at risk. Some are feeling symptoms and waiting on their tests. The anxiety that it’s putting them through- waiting to see what’s happening.”

D.C Health tells FOX 5 that CDC guidelines were followed at the training-that people were placed 6 feet apart and provided hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to disinfect their work spaces.