The Morning Call
Police: Woman coughed on nurse; employee assaulted over mask
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.