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Long Island nurse who battled COVID-19 surprised with ‘drive-by’ celebration from family, colleagues

Posted at 3:58 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 15:58:07-04

GARDEN CITY PARK, N.Y. — A Long Island nurse, whose entire family battled COVID-19, was surprised with a ‘drive-by’ celebration from colleagues and family during the Mother’s Day weekend.

Luz Naranjo, a nurse case manager at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital contracted the virus as the hospital began taking in COVID patients.

Her daughter, Catherine “Katie” Naranjo, a medical surgical unit nurse at the same hospital, got the virus mid-March. Then her brother, sister and dad later contracted the illness, the 24-year-old nurse told PIX11.

The mother of three was the last member of the family to contract COVID-19.

On the week of March 24, Luz Naranjo was hospitalized. Her husband, Victor, and their son Victor Jr. — who is also a nurse — were hospitalized that same week, but returned home within three to five days.

Luz Naranjo had to be intubated at LIJVS as the hospital experienced a surge in COVID patients and was later rushed to Southside Hospital, where ICU beds were available, the family said.

She remained intubated and sedated there for ten days. The 36-year veteran at Northwell Health has since been recovering at home for the past two weeks.

Her children decided to set up the drive-by celebration as she was getting better and reached out to family and the nurse care manager’s colleagues who wanted to show their love and support.

Dozens of vehicles paraded outside the Naranjo’s Long Island home Saturday afternoon.

“It’s like the best feeling having her home. I cry thinking how grateful we are,” Katie Naranjo said.

She told PIX11 it took her mom, who turns 61 on May 20, a while to adjust when she returned home, but she’s “getting stronger day by day” and seeing her family and colleagues come together for her “definitely boosted her spirits up.”