The Morning Call

Po­lice: Woman coughed on nurse; em­ployee as­saulted over mask

- By Sarah M. Wo­j­cik Morn­ing Call re­porter Sarah M. Wo­j­cik can be reached at 610-778-2283 or swo­j­cik@ mcall.com. Crime · Incidents · Pennsylvania · Berks County · Northampton Town F.C. · Bethlehem, PA · Allen Township · Lehigh Valley · Bethlehem Township · Hamburg · Northampton County

As record-break­ing coro­n­avirus in­fec­tion num­bers are re­ported in Penn­syl­va­nia, so too are re­ports from au­thor­i­ties of peo­ple fight­ing over masks and us­ing a cough­ing as a weapon.

A Berks County woman is ac­cused of de­lib­er­ately cough­ing on a nurse at an ur­gent care cen­ter in Ham­burg, and an uniden­ti­fied man al­legedly punched an em­ployee of a gas sta­tion in Allen Town­ship over a dis­pute about mask-wear­ing, ac­cord­ing to court records and po­lice.

Jes­sica Saul, 41, of the 400 block of South Fourth Street in Ham­burg, faces charges of reck­less en­dan­ger­ment, disor­derly con­duct and harass­ment, af­ter au­thor­i­ties say she be­came irate when told she’d have to wait in her car be­fore be­ing called into the cen­ter for a COVID-19 test on Nov. 10.

Saul showed up at the St. Luke’s Ur­gent Care Cen­ter in Ham­burg af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing COVID-19 symp­toms, records say, and re­fused to wait in her car to be called when a doc­tor was avail­able to see her.

A nurse who heard the com­mo­tion in­side the care cen­ter tried to ex­plain the pro­ce­dures to Saul, but au­thor­i­ties say Saul then re­moved her mask and coughed in the woman’s face.

“Take that,” she al­legedly told the nurse be­fore turn­ing to leave the ur­gent care cen­ter.

The nurse told po­lice that she felt Saul’s spit in her eyes and had to be tested for the coro­n­avirus.

Mean­while, in Northamp­ton County, state po­lice re­ported Fri­day that an as­sault over mask-wear­ing oc­curred at the Kop­per Penny gas sta­tion on Route 329 in Allen Town­ship on Oct. 23. An as­sis­tant man­ager at the busi­ness con­fronted a cus­tomer about not wear­ing a mask.

The en­counter es­ca­lated into an ar­gu­ment, and the em­ployee marched to­ward the mask­less cus­tomer who then al­legedly punched the worker sev­eral times be­fore tak­ing off.

State po­lice say the worker suf­fered swelling and bruis­ing from the as­sault. No one has been charged.

In the early months of the pan­demic, po­lice re­ported in­ci­dents where pris­on­ers spit or coughed on po­lice, mak­ing com­ments about spread­ing COVID-19.

As masks be­came a re­quire­ment, po­lice re­ported in­stances when some peo­ple be­came an­gry about be­ing told to don a face cov­er­ing.

The most no­to­ri­ous case in the Le­high Val­ley oc­curred July 31, when Adam Zaborowski re­fused to wear a mask in­side the Cigars In­ter­na­tional store in Beth­le­hem Town­ship. He then al­legedly stole a few cigars and opened fire on an em­ployee who fol­lowed him out­side.

Zaborowski is await­ing trial on the charges of at­tempted homi­cide and ag­gra­vated as­sault in the case.

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