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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (NEXSTAR) – A South Dakota emergency room nurse says the patients “that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real.”

Jodi Doering wrote in a tweet thread that she sees sick patients who deny the existence of the virus – even while on their deathbed.

“If my five seconds of Twitter fame can help our state and bring some recognition to convince people that this is real and the reality is it might kill you, then I guess I’m just going to ride it and go with it,” Doering said.

I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm (a high-flow respiratory aid). They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that “stuff” because they don’t have COViD because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like an [expletive] horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again.

– Jodi Doering

“Their dying breaths are literally ‘find out what’s wrong with me,'” Doering said. “And when you say it’s COVID, people say, ‘No, that can’t be it.'”

Doering, who works as a traveling nurse, said she was at home on her one day off when she wrote the tweets out of a mix of sadness, frustration and irritation.

South Dakota’s death toll was at 644 as of Monday, a number that is nearly the same as the entire population of Doering’s hometown of Woonsocket.

“That is like taking our entire town off the map,” Doering said. “Every teacher, every banker, every kid who goes to school, gone.”

Doering said one of the hardest things to watch is to see patients who experience mild symptoms tell their friends and neighbors that the coronavirus wasn’t that bad, “and then the next time you turn around you have a 40- or 50-year-old lying there who’s not going to survive with the same virus.”

“There’s absolutely nothing worse in my 22-year career than doing a goodbye by Facetime,” Doering said.

Governor Kristi Noem has steadfastly taken a hands-off approach to the virus, even in the face of a rapidly accelerating death total – South Dakota reached 219 deaths in November alone, roughly a third of the state’s total deaths since the start of the pandemic.

On Monday, Noem’s Communications Director Ian Fury said in a statement, “She’ll continue trusting South Dakotans to exercise their personal responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones.”