By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Bend resident Frank Fleetham was admitted to the hospital Thursday, not for COVID-19, but for a blood infection.
There were only a few COVID patients on his floor when he arrived.
“As the weekend went on, the number went up from a few to at one point there were 32 people on the fourth floor,” Fleetham said.
St. Charles reported a record 49 COVID patients hospitalized on Monday.
Fleetham was moved from room to room as new patients came in.
“I was in room 419, then one day they had to move me because they had another COVID patient came in and they’re trying to keep them together,” Fleetham said. “Again that night at 1:00 in the morning they moved me again.”
He was a little nervous initially to be on the COVID floor, he said, but the staff made him feel safe.
“The staff was amazing,” Fleetham said. “They’re stretched thin with all the extra duties but the spirit is good and they’re working as a team.”
Fleetham was discharged Tuesday, and now he wants to give back to the staff he saw working so hard.
He’s asking people to gather outside of St. Charles Thursday night with headlamps and lights to show their appreciation to health care workers.
“We hope to have people show up so we can show these nurses coming and going from the hospital how spectacular they are,” Fleetham said. “They’ve done a fabulous job.”
Fleetham hopes people will show up masked and socially distant at 6:45 p.m., right before a staff shift change.
Central Oregon Daily reached out to St. Charles, and a spokeswoman said in a statement, “While we are deeply appreciative of our community’s support, we strongly discourage any gathering outside of the hospital.”
When asked about the statement, Fleetham said he’s still planning the gathering in an effort to honor workers.
“I have to do something,” he said.