A Home Run for Health Care: Millennium’s Covid-19 Strike Team Protects Southwest FloridaJul 14, 2021 04:25PM ● By JENNIFER FAIRFIELD-WILLIAMS
As the last notes of the National Anthem trail through a respectfully quiet JetBlue Park, a small group of women in matching blue t-shirts cheers extra loud from just outside a VIP box. They are part of Millennium Physician Group’s Covid-19 Strike Team. Invited by the Boston Red Sox to throw out the game’s “virtual first pitch,” the women are being recognized during this spring training game on a day named in their honor, “Millennium Day.” Their smiles and excitement brighten the shadows cast by the storm clouds threatening to douse the game.
“This is just amazing,” says Millennium practice manager Amy Washinsky. “What a great experience. I’m so happy for my team to be able to be here and experience this. This is just amazing.”
“We’re part of an amazing team at Millennium,” says RN and Strike Team member Amanda Simone. “We all work together to help the community with vaccines and testing. We’re here to have a good time.”
The members of Millennium’s Covid-19 Strike Team snap selfies and cheer on their favorite players. “I love the Red Sox, and I love Millennium!” hoots RN Stacy Cohen. “It feels wonderful, especially after the last year, to be recognized for everything we’ve done.”
The Covid-19 Strike Team was born out of necessity. No one ever set out just to contrive a fancy name; instead, everyone at Millennium set out to do what they knew best—care for patients.
The small but powerful team, consisting of RNs and clinical and administrative support staff, has run Covid-19 testing sites since the early days of the pandemic. When the tide began to turn, the healthcare workers started administering the much-anticipated vaccines—hundreds a week as doses became available. They’ve done all of this on their nights and weekends in addition to their normal daily workload.
Under the guidance of Washinsky, the team came together efficiently and quickly on New Year’s Eve when Millennium received its first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to distribute to their own frontline workers. They designed and tested workflows and perfected and implemented strategies to get as many people scheduled and vaccinated as safely and quickly as possible—all the while adhering to social-distancing guidelines and strict storage and distribution protocols for the vaccine doses.
“I don’t take credit for any of this. It’s all the team that we have in place,” clarifies Washinsky during one of the first vaccine clinics.
Millennium’s Covid-19 Strike Team is serving on the frontlines of the pandemic, and their exhaustive efforts are protecting all of Southwest Florida and beyond. Millennium has 12 Strike Teams testing and vaccinating across the state of Florida.
During that Boston Red Sox game honoring the local frontline workers, Millennium’s senior vice president of business development, Hugo Myslicki, simply states, “I’m very proud of those nurses who are the backbone of our company, along with our providers.”
The local Covid-19 Strike Team represents just a snapshot of how the state, nation and even the world have developed a new appreciation for frontline medical workers. “It’s made me realize how much they sacrifice,” says Suzanne, a customer service assistant at JetBlue Park during the game honoring the Covid-19 Strike Team. “They put aside their families, their health, their time, just to try to save us. They’re amazing. They are the true heroes.”
First testing for the coronavirus, and now vaccinating against it, Millennium’s Covid-19 Strike Team represents the strength and dedication it takes to power through this pandemic and move toward a grand-slam victory against the virus.
Jennifer Fairfield-Williams is a frequent TOTI contributor and enjoys covering the evolution of the health industry in Southwest Florida.