St. Agnes Medical Center remembering start of the pandemic, honoring lives lost

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- March 15, 2020, was the first day a COVID-19 patient was admitted to St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno.

To mark that milestone this week, the hospital is lighting candles and wearing white ribbons.

"That first patient was very impactful. We had seen all the reports about what happened in Italy, what happened in New York, so I was very hopeful that while we knew we would have some, we would not experience some of those situations that they had," explained Deanette Sisson, Chief Nursing Officer at St. Agnes Medical Center.

The hospital staff is well aware of how the pandemic has turned some lives upside down, but their message this week is do not give up hope.

"Again, we are hopeful like we were at the beginning that we wouldn't have high numbers. We are hopeful that maybe we are getting more to an endemic state, but we are also a little cautious about it because it's not totally predictable," said Sisson.

Saint Agnes employees will be honoring the many lives that have been lost with a special dedication all week long. They are asking the community to join via Facebook by submitting names of loved ones to be included in a special prayer.

"It doesn't even have to be that they passed away, but we know now, there is what's called the termer syndrome of COVID where people's lives have been permanently altered," added Sisson.

The hospital acknowledges the next steps in healing and plans to honor those names by lighting candles in their chapel.

"We know in remembering and recognizing, that helps to re-energize individuals. I don't know if you can see but on my badge, I have a little white ribbon -- all of our colleagues have the ability to pick up a white ribbon and wear it in remembrance of the last two years," explained Sisson.
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