As the battle against Covid-19 continues, our health care heroes continue to amaze us with their bravery and commitment–and their ability to focus on bright spots that have emerged amid the pandemic. We collected 50+ stories from the front lines and are sharing them below in hopes of creating a bright spot in your day. Browse through the sections below and let’s celebrate:

CommunitIES Rallying to Support Their Health Care Heroes

Three companies teamed up to provide thousands of face shields to health care workers across the nation. Primex Plastics described an "Apollo 13 moment" when his team looked at what Reid Health needed and gathered materials to make face shields—all in two days. News of the effort spread and resulted in two more Richmond companies joining forces on what has become a national effort. Ahaus Tool & Engineering, Inc., and B & F Plastics are also working with Primex to produce the shields, which have been ordered by more than 75 other healthcare systems. This project is the first time the three companies have collaborated like this--before, they were suppliers or customers of each other.

B & F typically supplies products for several plastic and rubber markets and has seen a slowdown in the automotive and RV industry that was affecting his business. Thanks to this effort, the company was able to transition 12 employees into the die-cutting and fabrication part of this face shield process. This prevented the company having to cut hours or potentially lay-off workers in this unexpected slowdown.

The companies are working to produce the more broadly used face shield that Primex developed for Reid, but made shields for a special protective helmet for hospitals in Tacoma, Washington. Ahaus team members were able to quickly develop a process to support Primex, assembling 75,000 to 100,000 masks a week.

I work in a Covid-19 ICU in New York City. It has been rough, to say the least. But walking to work during the cheers for essential workers at 7 p.m. always warms my heart. I love you, New York City, and I will continue to fight for you. Thank you for cheering us on.

Actor and businessman Mark Wahlberg teamed up with Feldman Automotive to donate hundreds of tablets to Beaumont Health System so patients can stay in communication with family while battling Covid-19. Wahlberg wanted to give back to the workers he’s gotten to know during his previous visits to the hospital. Jay Feldman said it was important to him to connect families.

“I [have] just seen everybody on TV talking about how their loved ones are in the hospital and they can’t be with them. [W]hen you’re in the hospital [or] in the emergency room, you want to be surrounded by somebody. You want your family to be with you. The last thing you want is to be alone.”

Both are so grateful for all the hard work the men and women of Beaumont are doing on the front lines.

We have a fabulous local guy in Urmston by the name of Jonny Spangles. He runs an entertainment company and works as a DJ. During the past nine weeks, Jonny has been running a live Zoom pub quiz two or three times each week and has been raising money for local charities, hospitals, and key workers. He has also been doing a disco bike on the weekends and always maintains social distancing. On VE Day, they did a Party Trike tour of the local area, covering 15 miles while wearing 1945 dress and playing songs from that era.

Besides raising over £30,000 for the local community, Jonny has lifted all our spirits and put a smile on everyone's face. He is a total gem and gives his all, unselfishly, to support everyone through these trying times. I honestly cannot think of anyone better to be acknowledged for their efforts and dedication to helping others. He deserves recognition, as all in Trafford are exceptionally proud of him. Many thanks and please recognize this unsung hero.

For more on this story, watch this video.

The combined efforts of a Reid Health emergency physician, her spouse, coworkers, and a Richmond, Indiana sign company resulted in two new types of protection for health system team members caring for Covid-19 patients.

Emily Kraft, M.D., EMS medical director, said she picked up ideas for two types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by following online forums of other healthcare providers. The result was the creation of "intubation sheets" made using items purchased at a hardware store, and "intubation boxes" designed and created with the help of A-Plus Signs, a small family-owned business in Richmond.

The virus is considered most contagious during the intubation process because it releases tiny droplets into the air that can spread virus to healthcare workers.

"The sheet was created based on ideas shared by other physicians across the country," Dr. Kraft says. "It is made of high clarity, heavy-duty clear plastic sheeting that can be draped over the patient ready to be intubated and placed on a ventilator."

Ed Thompson with A-Plus Signs said his company developed the product using a pencil sketch provided to them, turning around a final design in less than two days.

"We wanted to do what we could to help. Reid has been a great partner for many years. We hope this will help with keeping the medical staff safe while performing the procedures it was designed for."

The windows at our hospital are filled with paper hearts with message of thanks, and the hospital sidewalks are decorated with thank yous written in chalk. We couldn’t do it without our community. I feel gratitude towards the community I am surrounded by, and choose to support and stay strong for everyone involved.

From first responder parades, to signs of support in people's lawns, to meal donations for providers, our community has spoiled us. We've been gifted items like Crocs, Bombas socks, and Dr. Scholl's gel inserts. Our child life specialists are posting sticky "love" notes everywhere and leaving uplifting messages on our sidewalks. Our onsite child care facility has also treated us to a parade.

Leadership developed a phenomenal surge plan, and the "nonessential clinical staff" oriented as helpers. Inpatient RNs oriented to other units and worked alternate shifts to assure adequate coverage should a surge occur. We already have an awesome staff support system on our unit; we've had to adapt to social distancing, but it is still running strong.

When the Covid-19 pandemic began affecting the Southern Oregon community, Asante Foundation quickly pivoted its efforts to engage the community and support Asante health care workers and patients. One of the primary focuses was to gather personal protective equipment (PPE) donations as our nation faced a shortage of these necessary items. Since this effort began, we’ve witnessed the community come together in remarkable ways to support its local health care system, Asante.

To date, individuals and businesses have donated more than 228,265 PPE items. Additionally, local restaurants have provided more than 1,200 meals for our front line care workers. We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity, innovation and engagement this region has provided. Thank you!

Jen Maxfield, an NBC 4 New York reporter, delivered over 600 care packages to Hackensack University Medical Center in support of our health care heroes. All of the care packages for our team members were put together by her family. She rallied her community to create cards, drawings, and handwritten letters to include in each care package, which offered words of gratitude and encouragement. These kinds of special deliveries have truly allowed our team members feel appreciated.

Individuals EXEMPLIFYING CouragE, creativity and compassion

One of our staff nurses arranged a tailgate breakfast for the critical care nurses. We ate on the roof of the parking garage and practiced social distancing. It was an awesome chance to get together and have a way to de-stress after a night shift. We even got a great picture of our skyline through the hole of a yummy Long's donut (an Indianapolis favorite) that had just reopened.

Noell Pierce was my mentor throughout my orientation phase. In times of uncertainty and high stress, she always managed to welcome me. Noell is a very caring and approachable co-worker and a great nurse.

I had a staff member send one of her fellow peers a note of appreciation/recognition for the compassion and care that she always gives to her patients. Here's a quote from this note: "Your compassion towards your patients should be something we all have inside of us."

The quote attributed to Malcolm X: "When 'I' is replaced with 'we' even illness becomes wellness."

teams Working together on the challenge of a generation

I would like to acknowledge all of the patient care providers, support staff, and the leadership of AU Health for their tremendous efforts during this tumultuous time. Our AU Health team has been instrumental in expanding Covid-19 testing in the state of Georgia and has rallied together to respond to this crisis. It makes me very proud to work for this organization and see the work it has done for our community. Thank you and keep up the good work!

Our local health system in the Hutt Valley of New Zealand has stepped up to manage the challenge of Covid-19. Across our population of 145,000, more than 3% have been swabbed, finding 20 cases (to date). It is more than a month since we found a case.

I am honored and grateful to work for an organization in which everyone stepped up without hesitation and pulled together as a team. My teammates have handled this situation with grace, patience, compassion and transparency. The incident command team has been proactive yet calm in their preparations, giving a sense of calmness and peace to the staff. The leadership of this team has been admirable!

Dr. Karan Omidvari, a pulmonologist who works in intensive care at Hackensack University Medical Center, contracted Covid-19 in April. After experiencing low oxygen and other symptoms, Dr. Omidvari knew he had to go to the ER. Although he lives in Manhattan, he still chose to drive to our hospital to be treated because it felt like home. He knew that his doctors would take good care of him, and not because he is one of them. As our hospital continues to discharge patients, we celebrate the teamwork and dedication of our health care heroes taking care of one another.

I am extremely proud of the flexibility, accountability, and the job Cornell 2 has done since the beginning of this pandemic. They have accepted the challenge and still provide incredible service to the patient as evident with the patient satisfaction scores. They are absolutely amazing.

I work for an empathy-first organization, and it's been a bright spot to see that in action. With patients separated from family, our technical and care-giver teams rallied around a solution that places custom configured tablets in patient rooms where otherwise families are not allowed to visit. As this pandemic has been unfolding, our care team reached out to us in the technology group for help. They had been looking into the eyes of scared patients and loved ones separated by this ominous situation.

Working nights and weekends, a heroic team across our organization crafted a way to connect these families. The relief and thanks were immediate as family members at home were able to link via video to in-room tablets. Even with patients who frequently were unable to speak or act, family members were able to look in on them, sometimes in their final moments, and at least virtually be together.

Though the most dire situations are sad, this use of technology brought a way for missing contact. In better situations, it brought hope. In all, this has been some of the most rewarding work of my career.

My bright spot is my staff of eight. I have seen my team come to work each day knowing what we do impacts the lives of children. Each month we service the equipment and supply needs of just under 1,800 active patients. With very few exceptions, we have continued business as usual each and every day. As a large part of the staff in our building rushed to work from home, my staff came in each day to a mostly empty building to continue taking care of their patients. As a manager, I could not be more proud of what they have done and continue to do.

As I reflect, I think the most heart-warming part of this is being a witness to the baseline goodness and altruism of our physicians. Within a week of experiencing the brunt of the pandemic, we asked our doctors to volunteer to work in testing tents, exposing themselves to the bleeding edge of the pandemic. We asked providers to volunteer to work in a remote, unfamiliar facility amongst a group of strangers. With minimal instruction, we asked them to provide care for a novel disease in a pandemic state.

I watched this rag tag group of primary care, sports medicine, allergists, dermatologists, immunologists, APPs, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmologists, supportive care, urologists, and vascular surgeons raise their hands and step forward. It is fairly remarkable, and unlikely to occur again in our lifetimes. Their adventure mindset, innovation, adaptation and feedback made it a rapid success. The sentiment was perhaps captured best in a patient's words after being tested in the tent: “The good news is I have a cold and feel quite okay. The better news is that we had a health care system that took fine care of a patient. There is a safety net and today it was efficient, caring and strong. I wanted to share this in part to help with our fear that the system is failing us. Lots of silver linings in this situation.”

We've launched Parkview Business Connect, where we share the lessons we've learned about opening safely with all of the businesses in our region. We've worked with our chamber of commerce and we are evolving the offering as the pandemic unfolds.

Patients receiving outstanding care

Jennifer and Andre Laubach both began experiencing Covid-19 symptoms in mid-March. Two weeks later, at 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Jennifer unexpectedly went into labor. Because Andre tested positive for the virus, he wasn’t able to be in the delivery room with her.

“My nurse held my hand and wasn’t afraid to touch me. She cheered me and encouraged me,” said Jennifer.

The twins were whisked away shortly after they were born to keep them safe, while Jennifer was placed in quarantine. For weeks, she was able to see her babies only via video chat. Nearly three weeks later, after making a full recovery, Jennifer and Andre were cleared to meet their twins for the first time.

Seeing the number of patients dying in the hospitals is not something that we are used to. The numbers are so much higher than before Covid-19, and it’s really hard. We have “victory boards” that list the number of patients successfully coming off a ventilator and breathing on their own, as well as the number of patients discharged to go home.

As a hospital worker, it’s so good to be able to see some of that success and that we’re making a difference taking care of these patients.

A bright spot in my eyes has been the place of origin for a virtual visit being opened up for "home." This has allowed our physicians and nurse practitioners to pivot from 100% in-home visits to 100% virtual visits in a five-day period. We can also ensure that our frail and home-bound patients get the care that they need without the risk of asymptomatic transmission.

Working with our clinical teams to leverage virtual care has been a bright spot. We have seen engaged patients and awesome providers who embraced the technology almost overnight. This was key to continuing care in a safe environment!

ECHN's Manchester Memorial Hospital staff cheer Edith Meister, 91, as she is discharged from the hospital. Meister was the hospital's 100th patient discharged after care for coronavirus. Against all odds, Edith battled this virus after requiring ventilator support for many weeks. Edith is a gift of hope to us all.

View a heartwarming video of Edith’s discharge:

When a baby is born at Beaumont Hospitals, a special lullaby is played. The hospitals are now playing a special song whenever a Covid-19 patient is discharged or successfully comes off the ventilator. When those victories happen, that word spreads through our entire hospital. You hear all the clapping and the celebration, and the hope.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the lockdown in Orlando, Florida, our transplant institute performed 38 life-saving organ transplants. We thank the organ donor families and hospitals for making this gift of life happen.

During these difficult times driven by Covid-19 and the associated social distancing, minimized contact, and patient concerns, Sutter Medical Foundation has eased some of this trepidation with our existing and robust Cardiac Device Surveillance Program. This program has provided continuous Cardiac Device Data (i.e. Pacemakers, Defibrillators, ILR’s) remotely.

Patients have been able to decrease their in-clinic office visits in an effort to minimize any exposure to Covid-19, while feeling secure knowing they are still receiving Cardiac Remote Patient Management (RPM). With the recent uptick in video visits and the existing Cardiac Device RPM, patients have stated feeling secure knowing their cardiac care hasn’t been interrupted by the pandemic.

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