Man holds sign at hospital window, thanks staff for saving wife's life amid coronavirus pandemic

A mystery man appeared at the window of a New Jersey hospital to thank emergency staff for saving his wife’s life during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a heartwarming Facebook post, Shay Vander Vliet explains that her sister-in-law, Paige, took a snapshot of the elderly man, with his hand to his heart, holding a sign up to the window at Morristown Medical Center.

“Thank you all in emergency for saving my wife’s life,” the sign reads. “I love you all.”

Global News reached out to Vliet and Paige but didn’t hear back by the time of publication.

“We don’t know who the man is, we don’t know who his wife is. The nurses happened to be there and took his picture. What’s beautiful is that’s all we know,” Karen Zatorski, senior public relations manager at Morristown Medical Center, told local newspaper the Daily Record.

While it’s unknown if the man’s wife was suffering from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, it’s a beautiful sentiment for the hospital workers risking their lives working overtime during the crisis.

Vander Vliet’s post has now been shared more than 50,000 times and has racked up nearly 1,500 comments, almost entirely from people equally grateful for their service.

“Thank you for risking your lives to keep us healthy,” one Facebook user wrote.

“My heart is aching and overflowing at the same time,” another commented. “I want to cry with him.”

With New Jersey hospitals in desperate need of personal protective equipment, a group of medical students in the state launched a GoFundMe fundraiser, which Vander Vliet linked to in her post, that has since raised more than US$10,000 of their $12,000 goal.

As of Thursday, there were more than 4,000 active cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey and nearly 38,000 in its border state of New York.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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