Lifestyle Health Mississippi COVID-19 Unit Nurse Dies in the Same Ward Where She Treated Patients Elaine McRae worked as a nurse for 20 years and had volunteered to be moved into the COVID-19 unit before getting the virus By Georgia Slater Georgia Slater Twitter Georgia Slater is a writer/reporter on the Parents team at PEOPLE. She began at the brand in 2018 as an editorial intern and later returned as an intern on the Food team. Upon graduating from the University of Maryland in 2019, Georgia worked as an entertainment intern at USA Today before coming back to PEOPLE as a digital news writer. In April 2021, she began her role as a Parents writer/reporter. People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 18, 2020 10:49 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Facebook A longtime Mississippi nurse died of the novel coronavirus this month in the same hospital where she had volunteered to treat patients with the virus since the onset of the pandemic. Elaine McRae, 63, a cardiac observation nurse at Gulfport Memorial Hospital, died on Nov. 5 from complications related to COVID-19 after spending 72 days in her colleagues' care, according to the Biloxi Sun Herald. The mom of four, who had no underlying conditions except high blood pressure controlled with medication, first came home feeling sick one day in August. She noticed a loss of appetite and came down with a fever and warned her daughter Monica Erwin to stay out of her room. 28-Year-Old Nurse Dies from COVID-19 Complications Hours After Filming Goodbye Video from Hospital Bed A week later McRae was having trouble breathing and her oxygen levels dropped to 63 percent, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported. She was taken to Gulfport Memorial Hospital and was moved into the COVID-19 intensive care unit where she was put on a ventilator. When she eventually tested negative for the virus, she was moved back to the regular ICU where she awaited a lung transplant as the virus had destroyed her lungs. Her children were able to visit after their mother was no longer positive for COVID-19. "We thought she was going to make it," Erwin told the newspaper. "And then she didn’t." Facebook McRae inspired Erwin to become a registered nurse and she passed her board exam shortly before her mother's death. She was able to show her mother her nursing license while she was still alive. U.S. COVID Cases Went Up by 1 Million in Just One Week According to the outlet, McRae had always been very cautious about getting sick and would wear surgical gloves to pump gas for at least 10 years. She wouldn't let her kids share drinks and she kept hand sanitizer throughout her home. "It’s not a hoax," McRae's son Brandon Mizell told the Biloxi Sun Herald of COVID-19. "It’s very real." Added McRae's eldest daughter Allyson Nulta of her mother's death, "It still doesn't feel real." Nulta told local news outlet WLOX, "She really thought she could do some good, and she did. She helped a lot of people. We, of course, were proud of her. She’s an amazing woman and she has so many gifts to share. And this is something she felt strongly about." A graveside service for McRae was held on Nov. 13. "She was an honest-to-God Hero, and fiercely loved her family," her obituary read. "To say she will be missed is a great understatement. We pray our hearts will mend from this tragic, inconceivable loss." As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.