By Sara Paul
It was a celebration of health and hard-work as staff members of St. Anthony Community Hospital held a socially distanced gathering to commemorate the discharge of the 500th COVID-19 patient.
On Mon., May 11, healthcare workers, local officials and community members put on their best face masks, held up their “500” paddles, and sang and swayed to an appropriate tune, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.
With music blasting, people cheering and horns honking, the parking lot at St. Anthony Community Hospital was filled with hope, strength and support.
Vice President of Patient Care Services at the hospital, Anita Volpe, announced that as of Mon., May 11 more than 500 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were released from the Bon Secours Charity Health System. Volpe acknowledged the courageous work of the hospital staff and also thanked the Warwick community for their constant support in the form of donations, cards, lights and sirens.
“We’ve been to hell and back in the last few months, but we are on the other side now, and we’re doing okay,” said Volpe, who stood in front of a giant gold balloon in the shape of the number 500.
Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, who was present at the event, said, “Celebrating the discharge of the 500th patient was about so much more than an individual. It symbolized the outstanding skills, compassion and dedication of the amazing doctors, nurses, administrators, and support workers we are blessed to have in our community.”
Though Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus could not attend, he provided the following written statement: “This is a significant milestone and a testament to the hard work of the dedicated staff at St. Anthony’s during the COVID-19 pandemic. I commend the St. Anthony’s team for their resiliency and for the extraordinary care that they are providing our residents during this unprecedented time. St. Anthony’s perseverance, spirit and commitment to our residents will help us get us through this crisis.”
Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, also present, summed up the day with pride and gratitude, commenting, “This was an important positive hallmark during this health crisis. The strength and bravery exemplified by the staff, doctors, nurses and administration has been extraordinary. It does take a Village, Town and a Community Hospital like St. Anthony’s to support each other in times like these. The journey is not over but the leadership and courage by Anita Volpe and the team at St Anthony’s has been a community safety net. We are grateful and proud.”
Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard (from left), St. Anthony Community Hospital Vice President Anita Volpe, Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton & Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce President Jim Mezzetti celebrate the 500th COVID-19 patient discharged at a socially distanced ceremony in the hospital parking lot on Mon., May 11.