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Southern Illinois COVID survivors invited to reunion with hospital staff

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WSIL) --  COVID-19 survivors who were hospitalized in the Deaconess Health System now have an opportunity to thank their caregivers at a reunion style event next month.

Family members of individuals who passed from COVID-19 are also invited to the events scheduled for Sun., July 25. 

“It was our employees idea,” said Dr. James Porter, President, Deaconess Health System. “They were concerned about patients and families they've gotten to know during the pandemic. They wanted to have that connection to be able to follow-up and see how they're doing.”

An estimated one third of COVID-19 patients that end up at the Evansville location for acute care reside in Southern Illinois.

This event will not only allow patients and loved ones to connect with Deaconess caregivers, but will also allow staff members to see former patients and check-in with their progress after so many long hospitalizations.

There will be two events, based on the location of the patients’ hospitalization. Patients who were hospitalized at Deaconess Midtown or Gateway Hospitals are invited to Bosse Field (inside Garvin Park in Evansville) from 1-3 PM; those who were hospitalized at Deaconess Henderson Hospital in Hendersonville, KY will meet with staff in the hospital’s lower parking lot from 4-5 PM.

Vaccination will be required to attend this event.

“We are requiring vaccines to participate in the event because we feel like people are going to want to hug. There are going to be tears of sorrow and tears of joy,” Dr. Porter said.

Dr. Porter said about 3,000 patients are affected by this.

Current CDC protocols require masks and social distancing among those who have not been vaccinated, which would be impossible to enforce during this type of event. 

More information about vaccination opportunities and timelines, as well as the event registration link here. Patients or families can also register by calling 812-450-7000.

To help predict crowd size, advance registration is required.  Patients and/or family members who attend are encouraged to wear a name badge or sign to help them connect with staff who cared for them or their loved ones.

News 3 WSIL has covered other COVID-19 survivors and their families who all had valuable lessons to share.

Marion resident Mark Finnie spent 135 days in a coma and recommends everyone get vaccinated.

Carterville, IL resident Leslie Wallen continues with long haul symptoms months later

And Herrin resident Shannon Wimberly is still in the hospital battling COVID after being hesitant to get the vaccine.

Courtesy: Steven Wimberly
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News 3

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