Sun City Center, Florida - Over 50 cars passed by South Bay Hospital honking, waving and holding signs of support and appreciation, April 30, as part of #ONETEAM an event organized by local residents to thank South Bay Hospital caregivers and local first responders.

Hospital caregivers were joined by Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue, Sun City Center Emergency Squad and Americare personnel as local residents drove past in a parade of cars.

"We were so excited to come out," said Debbie Caneen, a local resident and event organizer. "It has just been this long time of isolation and pent up anxiety. To be able to show our appreciation for the people who we know are going to take care of us in our time of need -- it was amazing. Everyone was so willing."

South Bay Hospital prepared well in advance of the pandemic. On April 23, the hospital celebrated with a COVID-19 patient being discharged after an 18-day stay during which he was on a ventilator. The hospital, a member of the West Florida Division of HCA Healthcare, has implemented every best practice and safety precaution. At South Bay Hospital precautions have been taken and new protections were put in place to make this facility the safest possible place to receive healthcare.

people supporting caregivers

"It meant so much to me. It is great to see the community come together and just show support for one another," said Shirley Bartholomew, Director of the Med Surge, Med Tele, Ortho and PIU Units at South Bay Hospital. "My team have been troopers. There have been ups and downs and at the end of the day we come together making sure we keep all of our patients safe and provide an environment for healing and recovery."

The hospital staff is excited to begin welcoming back patients for surgery, mammograms and other outpatient procedures starting May 4.

"We know that many in the community have deferred medical procedures due to recent circumstances," said Dan Bender, South Bay Hospital CEO. "We are grateful to be able to move forward starting May 4 in a safe environment with the compassion our South Bay caregivers are known for."

first responders come together in shared support

tags: covid-19