SOMERVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The heroes of the coronavirus pandemic are those front line workers who put their lives on the line every day to help their patients.

You’ll even find heroes from the sports world if you look beyond the mask.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Tara Rapelyea’s most vital uniform isn’t her most glamorous.

“It’s different. I don’t have that dancing outlet, which, you know, allows you to release a lot of your emotions,” she told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.

Emotions aren’t in short supply for this Knicks City Dancer, who for the past two years has been a nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in New Jersey.

“I think I’m handling things pretty well. I’d be lying if I didn’t have days where I feel different emotions, but I think overall I feel very motivated to keep going and provide good, adequate patient care,” Rapelyea said.

Like all nurses, Rapelyea is working 12-hour shifts with few days off in caring for the patients.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Her role as a dancer will have to wait, but she’s now part of a new team that’s even more celebrated.

“I live in New Jersey so I actually don’t get to experience [the nightly applause], but I’ve had friends that have FaceTimed me during it, and it gives me goosebumps,” Rapelyea said.

And every day she experiences more meaningful victories.

“The vibe of the hospital is actually very supportive, and we’re really trying to focus on the positives here. One of the things the hospital is doing is when a COVID patient is discharged, they’ll play ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and you hear it throughout the hospital, and honestly, it just gives you the chills. It really reminds you why you’re doing what you’re doing,” she said.

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