Trinity Health of New England thanks frontliners, remembers those lost to COVID at St. Mary’s in Waterbury after one year of pandemic


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — We’re one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and medical professionals continue to work tirelessly to care for patients.

Trinity Health of New England took time Thursday morning to recognize those workers and remember the lives lost to COVID-19 with a ceremony at St. Mary’s Hospital.

RELATED: Masonicare in Wallingford resumes in-person visits after one-year pandemic-related halt

Doctors, nurses, EMT crews and other first responders gathered to commemorate the one-year mark since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. The emotions could be felt among those gathered, as they shared memories of how tough it was at first, adjusting to the new realities of working in the ER with the threat of COVID.

More than 250 COVID patients at St. Mary’s Hospital have died since the start of the pandemic.

Shana Smegielski, a nurse at St. Mary’s addressed a crowd Thursday, emotional: “My patients, I remember them all. I remember their room numbers, their names, the things that they told me, the look in their eyes. Some were young, some were older. A sweet married couple who were cohorted in the same room. A young woman who lost her husband in her ICU.”

These workers have graciously allows News 8 to share their stories ever since the pandemic began. We were here when Waterbury has its first COVID patient. That was back on March 17, 2020.

RELATED: First case of coronavirus confirmed in Waterbury

Dr. Paul Porter, St. Mary’s chief medical officer and emergency physician said, “We’ve followed the events in China and Italy very closely. We lectured our medical staff the first week of February.”

As more and more tests turned positive and cases got serious, we began to find out just how hard it was becoming to these healthcare workers.

On May 2, 2020, Lisa Roy, a nursing professional development specialist told News 8, “I think the worst day for me is walking through the intensive care unit and seeing the number of patients that we have. The patients that are on ventilators and nurses working in conditions with gowns and masks and with marks on their faces from a long day in their masks.”

COVID has taken more than 240 patients at St. Mary’s, more than 340 throughout the city. Those lives were honored Thursday.

Through the bad days and the good days, we’ve witnessed a grateful community showing its appreciation.

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