A nurse in Salem, Ore., has been placed on leave after mocking coronavirus safety measures on TikTok in a video that provoked anger online.
Salem Health announced on Saturday that it was punishing the nurse for showing a “cavalier disregard for the seriousness of this pandemic,” after she posted her video on TikTok Friday.
In the video, a blond woman wearing blue scrubs and a stethoscope can be seen smiling into the camera while lip-synching along with Jim Carrey’s Grinch in an audio clip from the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
“When my coworkers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I am out and let my kids have play dates,” a caption on the video reads.
The audio clip starts with a young girl screaming, followed by Carrey’s Grinch mock-screaming in reply. The Grinch can also be heard ridiculing the girl for sneezing.
The video captured widespread attention last week after Amanda Butcher, another Oregon nurse, saved it and reposted it with her criticism.
“Imagine being an oncology nurse during a pandemic and bragging about not taking precautions,” she wrote in her video. Butcher also called out the user, @loveiskind05, for bragging about her unsafe activities.
The video and the user’s account have since been deleted, but Butcher’s reaction video has racked up more than one million views.
“I was just appalled. I was disgusted,” Butcher told local station KING 5 over the weekend. “Nurses shouldn’t be posting about that especially.”
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Butcher added that she called out her fellow nurse because the woman appeared to think nothing of putting her patients at risk.
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“I’m keeping my family and my residents safe, and I want her residents to be safe, too,” she said.
The nurse has not responded to requests for comment from KING 5 and KPTV. She has also deleted her TikTok account.
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Salem Health responded to the controversy after receiving a flood of messages from concerned citizens on Facebook.
“This individual does not speak for Salem Health and has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation,” the organization said in a statement on Facebook, in response to outcry over the video. It also condemned the unnamed nurse for her “indifference toward physical distancing and masking outside work.”
Health officials around the world have recommended social distancing and the use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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—With files from The Associated Press
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