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Cheers for nurse who goes home after 64 days in hospital with COVID-19

Mirna Richard, of Manorville, was released from Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson on Saturday after being hospitalized for 64 days with COVID-19. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

During her 64 days of hospitalization due to COVID-19, Mirna Richard spent most of it in an intensive care unit at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson.

At times, the staff taking care of her weren’t sure if she was going to make it.

“She had a very rocky course,” said Marie Mulligan, the chief nursing officer and vice president for nursing services at Mather. “Every time we thought she was making progress, she slipped back into becoming more critical.”

But after more than two months of treatment at the hospital where she worked, the 55-year-old nurse was discharged Saturday to her home in Manorville.

As hospital workers pushed Richard out of the hospital on a stretcher, her family members and dozens of co-workers loudly cheered, clapping and waving balloons and handmade signs.

“I feel joy for my family. … I feel very happy,” said her husband, Daniel Dorval, adding the past two months has been difficult for the family.

Richard said through hospital staff that she was grateful to go home and wanted to extend her gratitude to the hospital staff who saved her life. Hospital officials said Richard would need further rehabilitation and physical therapy to help her recover.

"She’s a miracle. There were many times we didn’t think she was going to make it," said Mulligan of Dix Hills. “Today was a big celebration of her being able to go home and being with her family. … I think that this was a very emotional time for all the staff that took care of her."

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Richard had worked at the hospital’s transitional care unit for 13 years and became sick in late March, though it was unclear how she contracted the virus, hospital officials said.

“I visited her yesterday in her hospital room. And she told me that ‘Dr. Mulligan, I want to recover and come back to work,’” Mulligan said by phone Saturday. “And I said: ‘Mirna, I wish you the best of recovery. Get well, get strong, take your time. And we look forward to the day that you come back through these doors.’”

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