Health care workers honored for their courage 1 year after 1st confirmed COVID-19 case in NY

What came in the following weeks and months led to harrowing sights for those in hospitals nationwide. Suddenly, Long Island hospitals were filled to capacity.

News 12 Staff

Mar 1, 2021, 11:01 PM

Updated 1,229 days ago

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Monday marks one year since the first confirmed COVID-19 case in New York. In recognition, health care workers in Syosset were honored for their courage in the face of a pandemic.
On March 1, 2020, a 39-year-old woman from Manhattan was announced as the first known case in the state. She was a health care worker and believed to have got the infection while traveling in Iran.
What came in the following weeks and months led to harrowing sights for those in hospitals nationwide. Suddenly, Long Island hospitals were filled to capacity.
"We were gearing for one of the most intense situations my generation has ever seen in health care," says John Schiliro, a nurse manager.
"It was one morning I had to call 'code blue' multiple times before lunchtime. And it was unprecedented, that's when we knew this is something that we never encountered," says Dr. Alan Kaplan.
But Kaplan says despite the fear, his medical team at Plainview and Syosset hospitals fought hard to save lives.
"There was definitely stressful situations, some people had anxiety, everyone worked together to help each other," says Kaplan.
Djimmitry Jeanlouis, a nurse manager at Plainview Hospital, says the heart-wrenching moments were many. That includes the story of an elderly couple both dying from COVID-19.
"All she wanted to do was hold her husband's hand as he was dying, we were able to make her last wish come true, and sadly two days later she passed as well. It was truly heart-wrenching," she says.
On Monday, the Town of Oyster Bay presented the health care workers with a pin in recognition of their bravery. More than 2,000 health care workers who have been on the front lines will get these pins at both Syosset and Plainview hospitals.
"This medal gives me a sense of hope that there is light at the end of tunnel," says Jeanlouis.
If you would like to show thanks to health care workers in the Town of Oyster Bay, you can beginning March 19 when the town will be accepting letters of gratitude at several drop-off locations.


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