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Nurse who works in Covid-19 unit wins $1 million in North Carolina lottery

A North Carolina nurse who works in the Covid-19 unit at a long-term care facility received a welcome surprise when she won $1 million in the state lottery.

The nurse, Terri Watkins, had entered the $300,000,000 Supreme Riches second-chance drawing but didn’t think she would actually win.

When the state Education Lottery called to congratulate her, Watkins said she was shocked.

“I thought that it was a scam. I was a little upset actually! I thought that it was not real, couldn’t be real. It’s still something that I really don’t believe, I’m still in some shock here,” she said, according to a press release.

Watkins, of Durham, did not return a phone call by NBC News on Wednesday.

Her name was chosen from over 513,000 entries. Watkins had the option to take $424,500 cash — the amount the winner gets after taxes — or receive 20 payments of $50,000 a year.

She chose to take home the cash, and collected her prize on Thursday.

“I’m a nurse and I work in the Covid unit at a long-term care facility. Just seeing some of the things that I’ve had to see, I am very thankful,” she said. “I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I’m very blessed.”

As of now, Watkins said she is still considering how she’ll spend the money. She said a new home would be nice, but she wants to “take time and put it in the right place.”

“I’m just gonna take it slow and easy and figure out what I’m gonna do,” she said.

Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

A North Carolina nurse who works in the Covid-19 unit at a long-term care facility received a welcoming surprise when she won $1 million in the state lottery.

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When a North Carolina nurse received a phone call saying she’d won the lottery, she thought she was being scammed.

Terri Watkins, who told the North Carolina Education Lottery she works in the “COVID unit at a long-term care facility,” won a $1 million second-chance drawing. In a press release, the lottery said winners receive calls or emails informing them of their winnings.

“You’re telling a story,” Watkins said in a phone conversation with the NC Education Lottery representative who told her she won. “I don’t believe you.”

She’s still having some trouble accepting her luck.

“I thought that it was not real, couldn’t be real. It’s still something that I really don’t believe, I’m still in some shock here,” she told the lottery.

Watkins was chosen from more than 513,000 entrants in the state’s “Supreme Riches” second-chance drawing, the North Carolina education lottery said in a press release. It was the fourth and final second-chance drawing for the scratch-off.

A second-chance drawing offers extra chances to win for people who buy certain tickets, according to the lottery’s website.

“Just seeing some of the things that I’ve had to see, I am very thankful,” Watkins told the lottery. “I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I’m very blessed.”

The Durham, North Carolina, woman had two options for her winnings: She could take a $1 million prize paid in annual installments of $50,000, or a one-time payment of $600,000. She opted for the one-time payment and took home $424,500 after taxes, the lottery reported.

Watkins told the lottery she planned to take her time figuring out what she’d do with her winnings.

“I would love a new home, but I’ve just got to take time and put it in the right place,” she said, according to the lottery.

The North Carolina Education Lottery contributed more than $709 million to education programs across the state during the 2018-2019 school year, according to the lottery’s website.

Nationwide, Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots have increased to $640 million and $750 million, respectively. Both are among the largest prizes in U.S. lottery history, though still a ways off from the $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot split by three winners in 2016.

Contributing: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY

Terri Watkins won a $1 million drawing from the North Carolina Education Lottery, taking home more than $400,000 in cash. ]]>