Healthcare workers cheer on eighth and final COVID-19 patient to leave the hospital

Athens

ATHENS, Ala. — Wednesday was a day of celebration at the Athens-Limestone Hospital as healthcare workers lined the sidewalk and cheered as they said goodbye to their last COVID-19 patient.

The hospital has treated eight positive COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic. All eight of those patients have now been sent home, making the hospital “COVID-free.”

The final patient, known as Miss Martinez, had been at the hospital for 50 days.

“She was probably one of the sickest of them all, and we were really worried about her touch and go there for a while,” said the hospital’s director of inpatient services, Donna Abernathy.

Martinez was the hospital’s third positive COVID-19 patient. Her daughter, Elizabeth, was the first, but was released two weeks prior to her mother.

“It was a day-by-day there for several weeks,” Abernathy said. “We didn’t know if she would walk out of here. And to see her do that today…it just touches our hearts.”

After two negative COVID-19 tests, Martinez was cleared to go home. Abernathy said the emotions the patients feel throughout recovery are shared by the nurses and staff.

“Fear, she was scared to death, then it became angry, she was angry with what we were doing, with what we had to do,” she said.

But as she got healthier, Martinez quickly transitioned to excitement and gratefulness.

Now she goes home to a road of recovery, including physical therapy and home health appointments.

The Athens-Limestone Hospital is now COVID-free!

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