'I have COVID?' OC nursing director develops new perspective after she and family battle coronavirus

After helping set up systems in her own hospital to deal with COVID-19, a nursing director contracts the virus herself.

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Monday, October 26, 2020
OC nurse goes from handling COVID-19 patients to becoming one
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A director of nursing who helped set up a Mission Viejo hospital's COVID-19 response plan developed a new perspective on the virus when she and her family became infected.

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KABC) -- As we've learned over these last several months, anyone can be susceptible to the coronavirus.

Cherie Fox is a nursing director at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, and played a vital role in developing their COVID-19 care plan: everything from what rooms they would use to what they would look like and need.

But six weeks ago, she found herself on the other side of it all - getting the coronavirus herself.

"When I got the positive result, I kept looking at the results in disbelief, like really, I have COVID?" said Fox.

So did her husband and two of their three sons.

"There's a little disbelief when you yourself get sick. I'm grateful that I did not get sick from the hospital," said Fox. "Definitely feel the exposure was being with my family and being out in the community, even though we practice social distancing and wearing a mask."

Even though Fox says she had a mild case, she did have respiratory issues and was monitoring the family's stats and vital signs at home as she would with patients at the hospital.

"If I wasn't ICU trained, I probably would've come in and my family would have come to the hospital to seek care," said Fox.

After three weeks, Fox returned to the front lines and back to serving alongside her staff, with a whole new perspective combining her work as a nursing director with her COVID experience at home.

"I really wanting to get back to help them and what might have been missing while you were gone so that they can continue to provide the care," said Fox. "Luckily, being part of this and working with the nurses and setting up all the protocols with our medical team, I was prepared. I knew what to expect, I knew how to protect myself and my family."