Frontline workers, COVID-19 patients honored at Jackson Health System ceremony

MIAMI (WSVN) - Jackson Health System is honoring its own for a job well done just over one year from when the pandemic started.

On Friday, not only were frontline workers honored at Jackson Health hospitals but so were COVID-19 patients.

The hospital set up thousands of blue and white flags at its Alamo Park. The 5,200 blue flags represented survivors, while the 1,000 white flags represented those who did not survive the virus at Jackson Health’s three hospitals.

Friday marked one year since the first patient within the hospital system was confirmed to have COVID-19.

Jackson Memorial Hospital’s ICU Medical Director, Dr. David De La Zerda, remembered those beginning moments of the pandemic.

“We didn’t know how it was transmitted. We would worry about ourselves, our staff and a lot of patients were dying,” he said.

While all lives could not be saved, so many were.

“No one thinks of themselves as a hero, but frankly, they are,” said Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya.

To honor these heroes, a ceremony was held to recognize the frontline workers.

Gloria Estefan was also part of the thank you, as her tribute song played during the event.

A woman who has Lupus and got her first vaccine dose at the hospital on Friday had a message for healthcare heroes.

“All I have to say is, ‘Thank you,'” she said.

While looking at the flags feels bittersweet, the blue flags display a message of hope.

“These show the work that we did and how much we came through, you know?” said De La Zerda. “Having so many people alive and walking in their homes with their families.”

But looking forward, De La Zerda reminds South Floridians the fight isn’t over.

“More confident in treating the disease, but by the same token, we still have a lot of patients, so people need to realize COVID is still around,” he said.

As of noon Friday, Jackson Health System has 129 COVID-19 patients.

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