MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was an emotional and medical milestone Tuesday at a hospital on Long Island, as a woman who battled and recovered from coronavirus was able to go home.
Patient number 750, Deborah Priester of Brooklyn, said goodbye, choked with emotion and gratitude.READ MORE: Storm Watch: Officials Hoping To Avoid Repeat Of Ida With Preparations For Nor'easter
The medical staff, the support staff, and everyone in between cheered, cried, waved, all along feeling like rock stars.
“Thank you staff for caring and loving. They go the extra mile,” Priester said.
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Like the little engine that could, NYU Winthrop with its 511 beds had the very first positive coronavirus case on Long Island, back on March 5. Since then, the hospital in Mineola has been inundated. It was declared a COVID-19 hot spot by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and built hundreds of new beds for patients fighting to live. Among them was Priester, a mother of four and grandmother of eight, and her compassionate heart.
“I’m a special education teacher, preschoolers with disabilities,” Priester said, adding when asked about her students, “I miss my students so much. It’s of the things that keep me going. I can’t wait to see those shiny faces and bright eyes.”
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Deborah was in one of the specially converted negative pressure rooms, where doctors and nurses from above paused to be acknowledged.
“I have a message for everyone: Please practice social distancing. Please be extremely careful. Honor and love and keep your family well,” she said.
Doctors said they were humbled.
“When you are seeing so much death, for that staff to see patients pull through and leave the hospital, it’s an amazing thing. It means we are successful in helping somebody,” Dr. Tuvia Marciano said.
Priester now has a lucky number to play as she danced her way out of the hospital.MORE NEWS: Exclusive: CBS2 Cameras On Hand At Unannounced Security Screenings At Troubled New York City High Schools
Many are searching for a lift to avoid despair. Good news stories like Deborah’s recovery and her optimism help make a real difference.