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Medical professionals back in the U.S. after being stuck in Honduras

Coronavirus concerns last week closed borders in that part of Central America.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Friday, the 13th of March, John D'Alessandro from Hellertown and his family's luck changed when they were vacationing in Honduras.

Everything was fine.  But just a few days into the trip, that all changed.

Coronavirus concerns left beaches empty, people were forced to stay inside, and the president closed off borders.

John, his wife Heidi, and his niece were stuck.

"We were getting desperate. We were essentially locked into where we are. Grocery stores were only open a couple of hours a day. Gas stations were closed. Local people were getting super-restless. I mean they work basically on tips and live day to day and their livelihood was taken away," said D'Alessandro.

A private security company was able to send a humanitarian charter to that part of Central America. The D'Alessandros made it back as did more than 100 other Americans earlier this week.

John tells Newswatch 16, not only did he want to get back to the states for safety, but also to get back to work.

Both he and his wife are medical professionals at St. Luke's Health Network, Bethlehem and Monroe Campuses.

"Being in critical care and anesthesia, we are on the front lines of this. Part of it was feeling guilty that we are stuck down there while our colleagues are, they are literally putting their lives on the line to help fight this disease and we can't help. I work with other physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and intensive workers to take care of the sickest patients in the hospital which will certainly include those with COVID-19," said D'Alessandro.

Because there were no confirmed cases of the virus on the island in Honduras, John, his wife, and niece did not need to quarantine when they got home.

John says he and his wife are working with their supervisors to see when they can get back to work.