Nurse on leave after apparent rejection of public mask wearing in TikTok video

SALEM, Ore. (KPTV) - An Oregon nurse was put on administrative leave after an outcry over a TikTok video she made that indicated she is still traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic and not wearing a mask in public.

Cara, the granddaughter of a recent patient at the Salem Health hospital, saw a TikTok video showing a nurse wearing scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck in what looks to be a break room.

Audio from the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” plays, seemingly comparing herself to the main character, and the caption over the video reads, “When my coworkers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I am out and let my kids have play dates.”

“At first when I saw it, it was more of a like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe a nurse would do that. How ridiculous,’” Cara said.

But then, she realized just where the nurse worked: the same hospital where her 83-year-old grandmother was receiving cancer treatment just last month. She doesn’t know if the nurse worked with her grandmother but says the thought alone is scary.

“The pandemic was always a concern, like ‘Oh, what if she catches COVID because she’s having to go to this hospital multiple days a week for these treatments?’ But the thought that it could’ve come from somebody who was supposed to be taking care of her was just like, ‘Wow, OK. Thanks,’” Cara said.

Salem Health put out a statement Saturday on Facebook addressing the TikTok video, saying the nurse “displayed cavalier disregard for the seriousness of this pandemic.” The post went on to say she is now on administrative leave, pending an investigation.

Cara is happy to see the hospital is taking action but wishes they’d do more.

“I would actually prefer she be removed permanently. It’s bad enough that we have people going around day to day not really taking this seriously and not caring, but to me, it just seems like levels worse when it’s someone who should be actually educated on at least bare minimum virology and immunology,” she said.

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