A hospital in Salem, Oregon, said Saturday that it has placed a nurse on administrative leave after she posted a TikTok suggesting that she was flouting basic COVID-19 prevention guidelines like wearing a mask and social distancing.
The TikTok by user @Loveiskind05, which has since been deleted, shows the woman wearing scrubs and a stethoscope, with the caption, “When my coworkers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I’m out and let my kids have play dates.”
The audio is the scene from the live action Grinch movie when the Grinch confirms his identity to Cindy Lou Who.
The caption flies in the face of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that advocates reducing travel, wearing a mask around other people when social distancing is difficult, and avoiding get togethers with people outside your household.
A duet of the video by another TikTok user criticizing the nurse remains online.
After numerous people identified the nurse as an employee of Salem Health and left critical Facebook comments alerting them about her TikTok, the hospital announced Saturday that she had been “placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.”
In a statement on Facebook, Salem Health did not identify the nurse or provide details about the TikTok, but confirmed that one of their nurses had posted a video on social media displaying her “indifference” to wearing masks outside of work and social distancing.
The hospital also thanked community members for bringing the video to their attention.
Many of the comments on Salem Health’s Facebook page said it was reprehensible for a nurse not be taking basic COVID-19 precautions.
“Who would ever go to a Hospital where their nurses don’t understand basic public health protocols,” one person commented. “If your staff doesn’t ‘believe’ in science how can you be a medical facility. Wonder how dirty this place is.”
Several people called for the nurse to be fired for putting patients at risk.
Another person commented that it was “incredibly irresponsible” for a nurse to not wear a mask.
“You need to evaluate your staff and ensure that they are the best possible candidates for the positions you are offering,” the comment said.
The US recorded 4 million coronavirus cases in November alone as the country is enduring a dreaded “third wave” of the pandemic that public health experts have said is likely get worse following an increase in holiday travel. More than 265,000 people in the US have died from the coronavirus so far.
In its statement, the hospital said that the nurse had displayed a “cavalier disregard for the seriousness of this pandemic” and assured the community that she did not speak for Salem Health.
“We also want to assure you that this one careless statement does not reflect the position of Salem Health or the hardworking and dedicated caregivers who work here,” the hospital said. “The COVID pandemic is serious and requires a serious response. And at Salem Health we are very serious about our approach to COVID.”
The nurse and Salem Health did not respond to requests for comment.