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Health Heroes: Nurse Manager leads COVID-19 testing site while keeping family safe

Cleveland Clinic's Jeff Woolf has high-risk family members and hasn't lived at home since March

CLEVELAND — As an Assistant Nurse Manager at Cleveland Clinic's Beachwood Surgery Center, Jeff Woolf normally helps patients prepare and recover from surgery.

But in March, Woolf was asked to take on a very different role - a lead at the Clinic's COVID-19 Walker Testing Site.

"After about the first week of the Walker testing site opening, I was asked to help take a role to make sure that we have we have a good good work flow. I had no idea what I was getting myself into," said Woolf in a recent interview with 3News.

It's been quite the challenge for Jeff and his team. Currently they're averaging more than 300 tests per day.

"The majority of the people that are coming through right now are pre-surgery but there's there's still a good number of sick people that that need testing and they come through us as well. We have to make sure that that we are properly wearing our PPE, we have to make sure that we have masks and goggles and and all the equipment," Woolf said.

By now, you've see the images of healthcare workers suited up in their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) but for a moment, put yourself in their shoes...

"We're working on hard concrete, you know, we're at the mercy of Mother Nature. If it's 90 degrees out, we're going to feel it. If it's 30 degrees out, we're going to feel it," Woolf told us.

But Jeff is dealing with so much more than just the physical demands of his job. He's also making quite the personal sacrifice for the greater good. 

That's because Jeff's wife and three of his four daughters have autoimmune conditions - which means, he's had to live away from home since March

"I knew that I was going to be up close and personal with with some positive patients that have COVID-19, and I was going to put myself at risk. The challenge is, if I put myself at risk, I'm also coming home to my family and...putting them as at risk as well."

But Jeff says, it's a commitment he wanted to share with his daughters.

"I feel that it is it is important it is necessary and it is you know teaching my children you know that it's important," he explains.

"It was a big decision but I knew I was asked to be a leader and I stepped forward, and when my tenure here in the garage is done, I know I will be going home."

And he knows firsthand, there's still a lot of work to be done in this fight.

"I feel strongly that that we're not we're not you know done spreading this this disease. And my personal heroes are the people that are following the rules, and fighting this this great fight, and still helping others."

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