Community gathers to honor Kaiser Permanente nurse of 25 years who died from COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One person after another held candles watching first responders drive by as many remembered the nurse who lost her life helping others.

Sandy Oldfield contracted COVID-19 in March after she was exposed to a patient who wasn't even been suspected of having the coronavirus.

She was in the hospital for more than a month until she died on Monday.

"It could be any one of us and the sad thing is it happened to her," a woman said. "I hope this won't happen again"

Friends of Oldfield are heartbroken.

As they gathered in front of Kaiser Permanente in Fresno, many wore black bands symbolizing their grief, and orange shirts representing Oldfield's favorite color.

They say the worst part of it all is that this loss could've been avoided.

"Sandy was exposed to COVID here at work," Chief Union Representative at Kaiser Fresno, Rachel Story, says

Story says nurses are being put at risk every day because of the lack of PPE.

"It's hard to get it," she said. "You have to meet the guidelines to get it, so if its not a COVID patient, we're not going to get it."

The Senior Vice President for Kaiser Fresno, Wade Nogy, says they're deeply saddened by the loss.

She adds, "We are using CDC-prescribed precautions and providing our staff with protective equipment that is aligned with the latest science and guidance from public health authorities. "

Nurses at the vigil say they hope OSHA will step in to help them help others.

Family members didn't want to comment on camera but say Oldfield was a leukemia survivor with a kind soul who will be missed.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.