NJ nurse still hospitalized with COVID-19 two weeks later as family waits


HACKENSACK, N.J. — It’s been exactly two weeks since we first introduced you to Sofia Burke from her hospital bed at Hackensack University Medical Center.

COVID-19 snuck its way into her family circle, infecting eight people in all, ultimately claiming the life of her beloved father, all from a seemingly harmless car ride home with an unknowingly infected family friend.

“My breathing is still the same,” said Sofia. “It’s not — I’m on a high flow — so I’m on two oxygens, so I’m actually a little worse since the last time we spoke.

Thursday night, the virus is still wreaking havoc on Sofia’s lungs, as she fights to recover and get back home to her mother, brother, her husband Brian and their three children.

“They help me immensely, thank God,” said Brian of Sofia’s family. “Because if I had to do this by myself with three kids, I’d have a heart attack.”

Our ongoing check-ins with Sofia serve a dual purpose — to follow her journey back to her family while hopefully providing some insight for you at home on the physical and emotional toll COVID-19 takes on both patient and family.

“They’re always saying how much they miss their mom and I miss them so much,” Sofia said of her kids. “It is not easy for them, it’s been very hard. My family is doing the best they can.”

The Burkes are no alone, joining tens of thousands of New Jersey families pushing toward the same goal, recovery and infection prevention.

During Thursday’s post-winter storm news conference, Gov. Phil Murphy described what he called only a minor vaccine distribution setback.

“Before anyone asks, I think this storm did disrupt some amount of the delivery of the vaccine,” Murphy said.

For Brian Burke, the sooner, the better.

“I hope everyone goes and gets it, that’s it. My mom is immuno-compromised and I haven’t seen her in six months now because of this,” he said. “This has probably been the toughest time we’ve had as a family and we’ve been through a lot but this tops it all.”

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