“We Are Winning This Together”: Local Health Workers Celebrate Recovered COVID-19 Patients

Staff at two South Florida hospitals organized celebratory send-offs for recovered COVID-19 patients on Friday

Westside Regional Medical Center

When a celebratory send-off was arranged for a recovered COVID-19 patient at Westside Regional Medical Center, the patient asked his nurse, Maria Carrasco, why the hospital's healthcare workers were taking the time to celebrate.

"We want to celebrate with each one of our patients that they are feeling better, they are recovered, and they are going home," Carrasco said in response. "We are winning this all together, and we will continue this fight."

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers in Florida and across the U.S. have had more than their fair share to worry about, from shortages of medical supplies and protective equipment to heightened risks of contracting the disease or of bringing it home to their families.

But on Friday, the staff at Westside took a moment to line the halls together and applaud their recovered patient, who was escorted out with balloons and a teddy bear in hand.

A recovered COVID-19 patient is escorted out as the staff applauds at Westside Regional Medical Center.

In the meantime over at Baptist Health South Florida, another celebration was taking place.

Dobrila Munoz, 67, and Carlos Saladarriaga, 72, have been married for 45 years. They both tested positive for COVID-19 and were admitted to Baptist Health on the same day.

After some time recovering in the hospital, they were discharged and sent back home on Friday, but not before enjoying a gleeful sendoff from staff.

"We're happy! We're happy!" Munoz exclaimed in Spanish through her mask as she was escorted through the hallway, hand-in-hand with her husband and surrounded by the cheers of nurses and doctors.

Signs stuck to the back of their wheelchairs read "Just Discharged," with curly blue ribbon attached.

The number of coronavirus cases continues to grow every day in Florida, reaching more than 17,500 on Friday. But as the threat of the outbreak continues to loom, shows of solidarity and appreciation for the region's healthcare workers haven't been difficult to find.

Also on Friday, Sweetwater Police sent a motorcade through Mercy Hospital, flashing their lights and honking their horns in a display of encouragement and gratitude for the facility's staff.

Meanwhile, the City of Hiealeah put its flag at half-mast in honor of all those who had lost their lives to the virus. The state's death toll currently stands at 390, and a tally from John Hopkins University estimated at least 17,800 deaths from the virus nationwide.

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