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Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has zero COVID-19 patients

Milestone reached exactly one year since its first COVID-19 patient
Posted at 11:14 AM, Mar 17, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare announced Wednesday there are no patients with coronavirus in the facility.

Jaclynn Moss, the Internal Medicine and COVID-19 Unit Nurse Manager at TMH confirmed that on Tuesday around 5:30 p.m. they released their last two coronavirus patients.

"I can't put into words what this year has been. It's very hard for me because there are so many emotions that go along with it," said Moss.

TMH, as well as Leon County, saw its first COVID-19 case on March 18, 2020. Moss said this is the first time she and her team have been able to stop and reflect on the journey they've all gone through.

"Now we've actually stopped and been able to just take a deep compress and now it's kind of hitting us that we have time and what we've been through this year," said Moss. "So that's why I'm kind of like, there are no words, no words at all, but I'm also kind of cautious."

In Leon County, 628 people have been hospitalized this year. Patricia Simmons went from working on the COVID unit at Capital Regional Medical Center to being a patient.

"It was quite emotional for me to be taken care of by coworkers. But they took excellent care of me," Simmons said.

Simmons first tested positive on Dec. 8. She said she didn't have any symptoms initially. Yet, shortly after, she was hospitalized for a week. Simmons didn't recover until March. Even now, she still dealing with lingering effects like lessened endurance. She said she has no pre-existing health conditions and leads a healthy lifestyle.

"A lot of people have the misconception that because they are healthy and with no co-morbidity, that it won't affect them. It's not true. I'm a living witness of that," she said.

Capital Regional is currently treating 15 COVID-19 patients. That's a big drop from the 87 patient peak the hospital saw in mid-January.

The hospitals say the decline in numbers is a joint effort between the medical field, the local government, and the community. Leon County is providing assistance through things like mask campaigns and social distancing, along with an increase in testing.

"One of the biggest responsibilities we have at the county is the coordination through emergency management of more than 200 partners across our community and the region to make sure that public health is top of mind. To make sure that we're all coordinated when it comes to testing operations, vaccinations, and good, strong, consistent public health messaging," said Leon County Spokesman Mathieu Cavell.

The county launched their 'It's Not Too Much to Mask' campaign last summer. It has also given out roughly half a million masks for free since then.

While things are looking up in Leon County. Healthcare workers know now is not the time to let our guards down.

"We've been through this before. We've had waves. It can reverse itself again. I've seen it. We went from one hallway of COVID-19 patients with six or four on the hallway to closing the whole unit back down again with 44 patients in a matter of weeks," said Simmons.

"I'm also kind of cautious. But it's okay, we will take the good days, just like we took the bad," said Moss.