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Munson Healthcare Marks Two Years Since First Case of COVID-19

Munson Healthcare

Wednesday marks two years since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed within the Munson Healthcare system

Munson Healthcare has treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients during the pandemic; a pandemic that challenged the healthcare system like never before.

It was the night of March 16th, 2020 when the inevitable became reality for Munson Medical Center.

“I remember having a conversation with Ed Ness and him saying, ‘Do you think that, you know, this is really going to turn into something,’ and I said, I absolutely do. So I think we were just it was sort of like, OK, here we go. We’ve got to get started,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christine Nefcy.

As Munson took in their first COVID patients, they were also dealing with the unknown of the virus.

“This was a brand new virus. It was a novel virus we knew really nothing about. And that’s not typically the case. Usually, you can flip open a book or pull up something on the internet and find out everything that you need to know: Here’s how you treat it. Here’s what we do. We had no treatment. We didn’t. Even if we had treatment, we didn’t know what the right one was,” recalled Dr. Nefcy.

And very quickly the virus began testing the local healthcare system.

“You know, we had huge issues at the beginning of this thing with supply chain. I think that was a big surprise for people that we couldn’t get basic things like masks for ourselves, for our workers, let alone for the rest of the community,” said Nefcy.

The two year pandemic went on to strain the healthcare system in waves, and the lessons from it reach far beyond the walls of our local hospitals

“The social determinants of health and how those impact our health care, that is definitely a lesson learned with this pandemic, the importance of mental health, support of even our community and socialization on mental health. I think those are all lessons I think that will persist outside of the context of the pandemic,” said Nefcy.

Now, for the first time in the pandemic, there is a true sense of optimism.

“It absolutely looks like this is going to become endemic if it kind of stays where it is. As far as our ability to treat it with drugs, prevent it with vaccines, we’ll be in a good spot and we’ll just have to learn to live with it just like we do with our seasonal influenza and that kind of thing,” said Nefcy.

But even with that optimism the story of this pandemic is far from over.

“I think that for us, the really important thing is going to be for us to remember the lessons learned and continue to move forward and keep those lessons at the forefront as we deal with it and probably the inevitable other pandemics and surges and those kinds of things that come,” said Nefcy.

Dr. Nefcy says as far as booster shots, it’s likely they’ll be adjustments with booster shots as the virus mutates.