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By Orville Williams

Nurse Cynthia Byers is being remembered as a stalwart of the nursing profession who devoted many years of her life to serving others, both within and outside of her profession.

The nursing fraternity on the island and the wider Antigua and Barbuda diaspora were plunged into sadness, following news of her passing early Monday morning. According to reports, Byers recently suffered from flu-like symptoms and was hospitalised, before her condition worsened and she required ventilation over the weekend.

Following the news of her passing, countless tributes have been pouring in for the ‘hero’ who Prime Minister Gaston Browne called “a remarkable daughter of the soil”.

 In a statement, the PM noted that Byers “dedicated her life to save others right to the very end, as she joined the fight to save lives affected by [the coronavirus pandemic].” He noted further that, “for many, Nurse Byers was more than a healthcare provider, she was a mother, an inspiration and a mentor.”

The All Saints Secondary School – where Byers is alumni – also expressed its condolences to Byers’ family, along with the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), who said in a statement, “Nurse Byers was on the frontlines in the fight against Covid-19 in Antigua and Barbuda and her commitment and sacrifice should always be remembered.”

Those tributes are just a handful of the kind and comforting words being shared in memory of a woman who meant so much more than being a nurse, to so many.

Her passing will no doubt heighten concerns about the many healthcare workers who are at risk of contracting the coronavirus. Up to press time there had been no official confirmation from the Health Ministry about Byers’ death, although Chief Medical Officer Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas expressed “regret” to Observer over the loss of a colleague.