PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – This is National Nurses Appreciation Week, but somehow that doesn’t seem like enough during this outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Allegheny County’s first two confirmed COVID-19 cases were evaluated at West Penn Hospital back on March 13, so nurses here have been on the front lines for nearly two months.

David Lau is the nurse who manages the emergency department at West Penn.

Courageous, dedicated, fearless — just a few words that describe nurses who are in the eye of this storm we call the coronavirus pandemic.

“Being on the front lines is scary in a sense because in the emergency room you don’t know what’s going to come through those doors, you just have to be prepared,” says Lau.

Lau has been a nurse for 19 years, most of those years spent at West Penn Hospital.

Nursing and the hospital are in his blood. His mother was an emergency room nurse. His mother was born at West Penn, so was he, as well as his three children.

But now there is a new sense of urgency in every hospital and emergency room around the world.

“I wake up every day and the biggest fear I have is to make sure that my staff is safe but not only that — their families are safe,” says Lau.

Lau says he thanks Allegheny Health Network for providing staff with enough protective gear and equipment to battle this virus.

He says so far, no staff members have come down with COVID-19, and he takes all precautions to protect his own family as well. He no longer goes home from work.

“I sleep someplace else, that’s one of my biggest fears is that my children may contract this,” he says.

Everyday we hear about the threatening conditions nurses are facing. KDKA’s Brenda Waters asked the 43-year-old if there are days he regrets becoming a nurse.

“Oh no, never, never for a second, and ever since then, I’ve never looked back. There is no other field I would rather be in than nursing.”

During National Nurses Appreciation Week, and every week, KDKA thanks you David Lau and nurses everywhere.

NOTE: KDKA is reviving our segment with Brenda Waters called “On A Positive Note.”

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