Hospital responds after video shows one of their nurses in a crowded Wisconsin bar without a mask

Wisconsin bars were packed with people almost immediately after the state’s supreme court struck down the governor’s stay-at-home order on Wednesday. Videos from several bars showed patrons enjoying a night out after more than a month of isolation — even though being in a crowded public place means risking exposure to the coronavirus. In one video, taken by a local TV station, a nurse is seen sitting with other people at a bar without a face mask on.

That nurse, Katie Koutsky, shared her name and profession when the news crew began filming her. “I have a toddler at home and I’m a full-time nurse. It’s been very stressful and hard to go out and be with my friends and family at the bars,” Koutsky told the news crew at Limanski’s Pub in West Allis, which reopened on Thursday, WGN reports.

When asked if she was worried, Koutsky said, “I don’t think the risk presents any higher than going to a grocery store.” 

Nurse Katie Koutsky openely shared her name and profession when the news crew began filming her at a crowded bar on Thursday night.


After the video of patrons disregarding social distancing guidelines gained widespread attention, Koutsky’s employer, Advocate Aurora Health, responded to her presence at the bar. 

The incident was brought up during a virtual town hall meeting for Advocate Aurora Health on Thursday night, reports WGN, a sister station of CBS affiliate WFRV.

Advocate Aurora Health chief nursing officer Mary Beth Kingston said all employees are screened before their shifts and the hospital takes steps to ensure that they follow appropriate safety measures on the job, according to WGN. “We’ve also been working with education with our team members for what they can do to be safe once they leave our hospital walls and certainly we’ll be following up with individual nurses as needed,” Kingston said.

Asked by CBS News about the video of the nurse at the bar without a mask, Advocate Aurora Health said it was “disappointed” given the “ongoing education and safety measures we are fully committed to.” 

“As businesses begin to reopen, it’s important we all to continue to practice safety measures that have been effective in stemming the spread including social distancing, thorough hand washing, staying at home when sick and wearing masks in public in accordance with local government guidance,” the statement continues. 

Katie Koutsky sent CBS News a statement via Advocated Health Care, writing: “Given the intense media scrutiny I have received over these last two days regarding my decision Wednesday evening to go to my sister’s bar to help her with the opening, I decided to issue a public statement.”

“First, while my priority was to support my sister and her attempt to restart her business which has been devastated by this pandemic, I’d like to express my regret for not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing while there,” Koutsky’s statement said. “It was a lapse in judgment on my part to not ensure I had my mask prior to leaving my house and to not maintain social distancing – even during the interview requested by the reporter.”

“As a nurse, I understand the fear and uncertainty everyone is facing and how important it is to practice safety measures not only at sites of care, but while away from work,” the statement reads. “I let my guard down and apologize for making anyone feel uncomfortable or at risk. While I do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and there are no indications of exposure, out of an abundance of caution, I am voluntarily self-quarantining for the next seven days. As standard practice at my hospital, I will undergo screening before returning to work.”

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