Her interaction on camera with Gov. Andrew Cuomo was brief: The New York state medical director of the Division of Epidemiology at the Department of Health appeared in personal protective equipment to test him for COVID-19 as way of demonstrating the swab for the general public.
"You make that gown look good," Cuomo said.
She would later testify to investigators she found the remark off putting, and that the governor also made what she believed was a sexually suggestive comment about being "gentle and accurate" with the COVID test.
She is among the 11 women whose allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by Cuomo would be detailed in a report released in August by Attorney General Letitia James's office.
Cuomo has denied the allegations of harassment and inappropriate behavior. His attorney, Rita Glavin, called into question the release of the transcripts as the former governor faces a charge of forcible touching in Albany County.
But her story and testimony, the transcript of which was released on Wednesday by James' office, goes beyond the allegations and to the handling of the pandemic itself by the administration.
Identified as "state employee #2" in the transcripts, she had previously worked on responses to outbreaks from Ebola and Zika. The COVID pandemic would be different.
Cuomo, who resigned Aug. 24 following the release of the report, had touted his efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days, he was a daily presence in televised news conferences with updates on the state's progress and measures taken to curtail the spread.
But behind the scenes, the state Department of Health's workers were taxed and exhausted by the work required to help respond to the crisis. At the same time, the response itself was largely being directed by the governor's office.
There were small-bore items that public health officials struggled to get approved, such as a flier detailing quarantine requirements.
"Just someone needed to get it out and we couldn't get it approved," she testified to investigators. "It's still, as I heard last, not approved."
But there were also bigger-picture issues that ultimately stymied the work of state health officials to respond to the pandemic, including being barred from working with their counterparts at local public health departments, including in New York City. In one instance, a webinar between state and local health officials was ended.
The lack of collaboration made it more difficult for public health workers to do their jobs, she said.
She told investigators the lack of collaboration led to "our staff to do many hours of redundant work because we couldn't collaborate, that was upsetting."
The level of control also went to COVID-19 tests themselves in the early weeks of the pandemic. The former state health worker testified COVID-19 test results performed by a state lab were directed to the governor's office, and not a reporting system meant to alert local health departments.
"I have concerns that lab results were not being reported to the local health departments or to the doctors in the optimal timely fashion as what should happen," she told investigators.
The long hours and stress created by the demands of the job led to turnover at the highest levels of the Department of Health. A new leadership team was brought in that included people who lacked backgrounds in public health.
Last year, as preparations were underway to distribute the first COVID-19 vaccine, Cuomo's office wanted a plan to distribute 40 million doses — enough for all 20 million New Yorkers — in a single month. The proposal was considered an impossibility given the expected vaccine hesitancy and that millions of residents had not qualified for the vaccine given they were under the age of 18.
But health officials nevertheless spent a weekend on "these plans that we knew were not based in reality."
The COVID test itself performed on Cuomo also raised public health questions. The doctor pointed to guidelines about performing the test in a room of state officials and journalists attending the news conference. The interactions with Cuomo that day, meanwhile, left her jarred.
"I took down my Facebook page because the journalists were coming after me right after with it and I hid with the security guard helped me got out without the journalists seeing me," she said. "So I had worried that people would pick up on it and until recently they hadn't."