Frontline NHS staff remembered as death toll rises

Tributes have been paid to two more nurses who died after contracting Covid-19, with dozens of NHS staff now thought to have died during the outbreak.

An agency nurse with five children, a nurse from south Wales and a “much-loved” hospital worker in Somerset were among the latest to be identified.

Mother-of-five Josiane Zauma Ebonja Ekoli, an agency nurse at Harrogate District Hospital, died in hospital on Monday.

The 55-year-old, from Leeds, was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary, a hospital where she used to work, last Tuesday after falling ill.

In a tribute, her daughter Naomie said: “It meant everything to be a nurse, she’s being doing it for as long as I remember – more than 30 years.”

Jill Foster, chief nurse at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said Ms Ekoli, known as Josie, was a “much-valued” member of staff.

“Josie will be sadly missed by all her friends and colleagues at Harrogate District Hospital and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time,” Ms Foster added.

Leilani Medel, who worked as an agency nurse in south Wales, was described as a “wonderful and caring person” by colleagues who are “heartbroken” by her death.

Mrs Medel, who lived in Bridgend, South Wales, had worked at hospitals within the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Hospital Board area.

Her employers, Cardiff-based Hoop Recruitment, said: “The nursing profession has lost a warm-natured and beautiful nurse who cared for so many vulnerable people during her nursing career.”

Amarante Dias, a staff member at the Weston General Hospital in north Somerset, was described as a “valued and much-loved colleague” who would be “greatly missed”.

Dr William Oldfield, medical director at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, said Mr Dias was “a valued and much-loved” colleague.

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