A HERO nurse on the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus will be forced to leave her family home and two kids for up to three months because she may infect her “high risk” husband.
Erika Johnson, 45, from Seaham, is due to go back to work at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, on Monday after self-isolation.
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But when she finished her shifts on the frontline – she will not be able to go home until the pandemic begins to subside.
Her husband Gareth, 50, who is himself a nurse manager at same hospital, had a kidney transplant two years ago and is therefore in the high-risk category – now in three months of isolation.
The family, including son Matthew, 13, and daughter Gabrielle, 12, are currently self-isolating at their home in Seaham, but that ends on Monday and Erika is returning to work.
But instead of choosing to stay at home with her family, Erika made the selfless decision to move out of their family home so she can continue to help those in need.
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Erika said: "It's a small sacrifice given the state of the country, I've been in nursing for 26 years and I want to do my part.
"My husband is trying to work from home to get things set up, but he can't go out and that's why I'm doing all of this. I don't want to come home and bring something back with me.
"It's not worth it for the short period of time that I hope it will be.
"It would be fatal if he contracted the virus, we know that so he's going to look after the kids, while I go to work."
Just over a week ago their son became unwell, so the family decided to self-isolate for two weeks following government advice to do so if anyone showed symptoms of the virus.
The self-isolation period ends on Monday when Erika will return to work alongside her selfless colleagues treating the sick.
Although Erika is determined to help those in need, she said it will be "horrendous" not seeing her family as she has never before been away from them.
She said: "It will be absolutely horrendous not seeing my husband and kids but I'm trying to think of the bigger picture. I feel like I have to do my part which most nurses would.
"People went off to fight in the war and we're fighting a war against the coronavirus as doctors and nurses.
"It's the right thing to do, I would feel so guilty if I was just off work because I could be off but I want to help people through this."
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is arranging accommodation for Erika.- but she is even considering getting a campervan so that she could see her family through the window.
Erika said: "It's definitely an option for me because I'd get to see them because not seeing them will be so hard for me and them."
Erika added: "They're doing everything in their power to provide accommodation for their staff but there's a lot of people in the same situation so it's not easy. I imagine there are lots of people are in the same position as me around the country."
Speaking to her colleagues, Erika said hospital staff are "preparing for the influx."
She said: "They are preparing for the influx that will come so they're trying to clear beds so we can take more people in.
"I think this has really shown how kind the public can be though. When you hear or see about the random acts of kindness, it's just amazing."
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