Nurse 'never expected' furlough during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 8:57 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 01:46:19-04

CHINA SPRING, TX — Sherri Davidson never expected to file for unemployment under any circumstances.

A longtime nurse practitioner, her skills were always in high demand. At least that's what she thought until the pandemic struck Central Texas in March.

"I've never been on unemployment in my life. I've never not worked in my life," Davidson said. "This wasn't something I ever expected. To be a healthcare worker and laid off in the middle of a pandemic makes no sense to me."

A month ago, Davidson filed for unemployment through the Texas Workforce Commission when she was furloughed. While some nurses and doctors are working 24/7 on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight, others have seen their hours and paychecks dwindle because most non-essential medical procedures and in-person visits have stopped.

Davidson didn't even receive her first unemployment check until Monday.

"It's between $500-600 a week, which, of course, is much less than my normal salary," said Davidson.

On Friday last week, Governor Greg Abbott announced some surgical procedures could restart as soon as this week. He also said that the unemployment resources are expanding by the day, with call centers now open seven days a week.

"There's been more than a million Texans that have been successfully processed for benefits, and something like more than half a billion has been paid out," said Abbott.

According to the latest state data, McLennan County saw more than 6,500 people file for unemployment during a four week stretch from mid-March to mid-April. The figure was less than 400 during the same period last year.

"The economic and healthcare impact on our nation is going to be long reaching I think," Davidson said.

She remains optimistic, but she desperately wants to return to work.

Until then, like so many others, she's counting on a little help.