Meet the woman who cleaned every COVID-19 room at Poudre Valley Hospital

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — A local healthcare worker is fueling Front Range courage with her dedication to patients and hospital employees in Fort Collins.

Kayla Elfgren is an environmental services technician and has been cleaning at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital for more than 20 years. 

A couple months ago, she quickly became a key figure in the hospital’s battle against COVID-19. 

When the first patients with COVID-19 were identified at the hospital in mid-March, she immediately stepped forward and stated that she would be the one technician within the department to clean all COVID-19 inpatient rooms.

“All I thought about was everybody who had kids,” Elfgren said, adding, “Nobody wants to see a child in a hospital, nobody wants to see their elderly loved one in the hospital.”

For months, Elfgren has worked extra shifts and extended hours to ensure each COVD-19 inpatient room is sanitized and safe.

“It’s like thinking of a toddler, you are going to clean everything — the door handles, the light switches, the cabinets, I touch everything in the room, that’s why it takes an hour for me to clean a room,” Elfgren said. 

While cleaning, Elfgren also found purpose and joy in consoling patients in each room.

“Some patients, they would start crying and I would ask why they were crying,” Elfgren said. “They didn’t want to make me sick. I kind of chuckled, I’d say, ‘Oh honey you are not going to make me sick, I have everything I need to protect me and we are going to get you better so you can go home and get back on your feet.’”

Elfgren would also find herself crying watching patients beat this virus.

“What she does today, what she did in April and what she’ll do tomorrow is such a great service to our patients and our community,” ICU Nurse Manager Lydia Baldwin said. 

Elfgren says she feels honored to serve on the front line of the pandemic in this way. She has no regrets and said she’d even do this all over again if needed. 

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