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Coronavirus Update: Hospital Photographer Jeff Rhode's Mission Is To Show The Front Lines Of The Battle Against COVID-19

TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - You may have seen some of his images throughout this pandemic.

A hospital photographer has been showing us exactly what's happening at one hard-hit hospital in Bergen County.

Through the carefully disinfected lens of Jeff Rhode, we're given a glimpse into the chaos that is COVID-19: The fear. The hope. The doctors and nurses.

"Once I was in with everybody in the front, I just kind of stayed there and that was it," Rhode said.

He's a multimedia specialist at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, a place described early on as the epicenter in New Jersey.

Jeff Rhode COVID-19 Hospital Pictures
(credit: Jeff Rhode/Holy Name Medical Center)

Rhode suits up in PPE, then starts documenting.


"Once it was pointed out to me that, yeah, this is pretty historical, then I felt, I guess, more of an obligation to continue with it. Even though I want to, there's never a question to stop," Rhode told CBS2's Alice Gainer.

So from 7 a.m. until he can't go any longer, he snaps away.

"The worst day for me would be after the fourth or fifth day, when the number of patients just sort of exploded. Things were frantic. The rooms were being divided by plastic sheets. The patient area is getting smaller and smaller," Rhode said.

Jeff Rhode COVID-19 Hospital Pictures
(credit: Jeff Rhode/Holy Name Medical Center)

He says he was struck by all the workers who came together to help modify the building to accept more patients.

"Someone from radiology down there. Someone from the gift shop down there. And someone from nursing down there ... And they would all be doing whatever it was needed to be done," he said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"When someone says show me the images you'll remember most from that time, are there three in your mind?" Gainer asked.

"COVID positive mother-to-be, was going to have a C-section, and you could see everybody was a little nervous about it. There was a new, hospital-made exhaust device that went over her head and she had to lay with her head inside of it so she wouldn't contaminate or harm other people," he said.

(credit: Jeff Rhode/Holy Name Medical Center)

"There was one of a nurse, her name's Arlene, and she was working in the ICU. When I was in there with her, she was talking to the patient even though he was on a ventilator, he was unconscious, and when I stepped out, she continued to do that and I think it touched me more that she continued to do it after I left," he added.

Jeff Rhode COVID-19 Hospital Pictures
(credit: Jeff Rhode/Holy Name Medical Center)

"There was a respiratory therapist. She was sitting there looking out the window making her call and she just hung up and she just started to tell me a story about the first patient that was extubated that day. And her quote was 'It's not a sunny day, but it's a great day," Rhode said.

Jeff Rhode COVID-19 Hospital Pictures
(credit: Jeff Rhode/Holy Name Medical Center)

Good and bad, he vows to continue show us all of it.

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