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San Juan County commissioners honor hospital staff members

Board proclaims Caregiver Celebration Day on Sept. 11
San Juan County Commissioners Terri Fortner and Steve Lanier meet with San Juan Regional Medical Center caregivers to honor them and declare Sept. 11 as Caregivers Celebration Day. (Courtesy of San Juan Regional Medical Center)

FARMINGTON – The San Juan Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday proclaimed Sept. 11 as Caregiver Celebration Day and visited San Juan Regional Medical Center to honor staff members for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioners Terri Fortner and Steve Lanier presented framed copies of the resolution during their morning visit.

“I can’t imagine what your daily job is and what you have to go through, but I want you to know it is not unseen, and people through the county are very, very appreciative,” Lanier said.

Fortner, who is also a registered nurse, nurse practitioner and former San Juan medical center board member, was a nursing student at the hospital.

“Through the highs and lows of health care over the past four decades, what I’ve learned about those in health care is that resiliency, hope and compassion are part of our innate skills,” she said. “We trust you and pray for you.”

Calling the caregivers “Healing Heroes,” the proclamation cites caregivers’ “bravery, commitment to purpose and compassion” while serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It thanks the medical center for saving “countless precious lives.”

“We are so pleased that the county commission offered to draft this proclamation and adopt it in your honor, in the honor of those you work with, and in the honor of those patients that we have served,” said Jeff Bourgeois, president and CEO of San Juan Regional Medical Center. “We thank you and we praise you for what you have done.”

The proclamation lauded the hospital’s actions to prepare for pandemic care, such as converting one unit into an intensive care unit.

The hospital also offers a monoclonal antibody infusion clinic.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight viruses and can help reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the Food and Drug Administration. San Juan Regional Medical Center offers bamlanivimab/etesevimab – a combination of two monoclonal antibodies – to patients who qualify.