Edgewater bakery owner closes shop, returns to battle COVID-19 as Mt. Sinai Hospital ICU nurse

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Since Gov. JB Pritzker's call to action, several former healthcare workers have re-joined the medical community to fight the spread of COVID-19.

One Edgewater nurse turned bakery owner has closed her business to return to the front lines.

"I have the knowledge and I have the skill," said Kate Merrill, owner of Edge of Sweetness. "People need help. It's kind of like when you see somebody drowning and you're a great swimmer, why would you not go out there and help them?"

Before she was a small business owner, Merrill was a nurse for 22 years. After seeing that her community needed her help, she decided to return to Mt. Sinai's Intensive Care Unit.

"Now is a good time to be good, so if everybody offered a little bit of goodness it would help everything," Merrill said.

She goes into work two to three times a week and said she's never seen anything like this before. So she's taking every necessary precaution to make sure she and her family are safe.

"I've probably seen more death in the last two weeks than in my last two years there," Merrill said. "One day you think they're doing better and an hour later it's a totally different story."

To prevent bringing germs into her home, Merrill changes her clothes, shoes and disinfects everything after a shift at the hospital. Once she's inside, she goes straight to the shower, afterward washing her clothes on a hot water cycle.

"We have a whole system. From the time I leave work, from the time I can see the family is a whole hour and a half and that's fine because I feel much better about it," Merrill said.

Merrill's not sure how long she'll continue working at the hospital, but she's happy to serve her community in any way she can.

As for the bakery, it's reopened with a different business model.

Every Friday people can stop by to pick up orders they've placed throughout the week.

Jalyn Henderson is a Community Journalist at ABC 7 Chicago. She tells stories on the North Side of Chicago in neighborhoods like Uptown, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, West Ridge and Rogers Park. If you have a story to share in these neighborhoods you can send an email to Jalyn.L.Henderson@abc.com
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