SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A group of 20 UC San Francisco health care workers — 12 physicians and eight nurses — boarded a flight to New Jersey Saturday to join the battle against the coronavirus in New York City and were treated to a special shoutout from Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry.

As they settled into their seats on the United Airlines flight, Curry appeared on the screen of the plane.

“Hey doctors and nurses from UCSF, I wanted to send a special message and shoutout to you guys and encourage you all in the work you are doing,” the Warriors star said. “It’s unbelievable your sense of sacrifice and selflessness and you stepping up to the call to serve people and go above and beyond.”

The group will be serving a one-month voluntary assignment providing urgently needed health care support for patients in the New York-Presbyterian hospital system.

The UCSF health care workers specialize in critical care, hospital medicine and emergency medicine. They were selected from more than 150 nurses and 50 physicians who volunteered for the assignment.

In recent weeks, New York City has become the country’s epicenter for COVID-19 infections, which has taxed its health care system. As of April 8th, there were 20,474 hospitalized patients with the illness in its hospitals. As of the evening of April 9, there were 2,520 inpatients with COVID-19 at New York-Presbyterian hospitals.

San Francisco, by contrast, has had far fewer cases and hospitalizations. As of April 6, there were 90 hospitalized patients in the city. As of April 9, UCSF Health had 20 hospitalized patients, with an additional 12 patients awaiting results of their tests.

“This is an opportunity for UCSF to support our health care colleagues on the front lines in New York City,” said Dr. Josh Adler, Chief Clinical Officer at UCSF Health. “We remain focused on our patients here in San Francisco, and are very well resourced with health care workers should we face a surge ourselves, even with our volunteers in New York.”

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