Two Years We Won't Forget: COVID-19 at Renown Health

By: Caroline Ackerman

March 18, 2022

Renown providers caring for a COVID-19 patient

On March 19, 2020, Renown Regional admitted the first patient in need of care while sick with COVID-19. Our providers navigated two years of a pandemic and overcame many challenges while providing the best care for our patients and the community. Anicia Beckwith’s series “The Art of Healing” captured Renown Health during this time. Let's take a look back on the last two years.

February 2020: Standing Up the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS)

On February 25, 2020, leaders at Renown Health stood up Renown’s Hospital Incident Command System (HICS), a standardized system used to organize response personnel and resources and manage response operations during emergencies and crises.

March 2020: Temporary Deployable Medical Structure Placed Outside Renown Regional Emergency Department

On March 12, 2020, Renown set up a deployable medical facility to serve as a respiratory illness screening center for emergency room patients at Renown Regional. A similar tent was also set up outside the emergency room at South Meadows Medical Center. This proactive measure helped our teams care for community members with respiratory illness symptoms while protecting patients and staff in the emergency department and other areas of the hospital.

Check out photos of the tent here.

Read the Reno Gazette Journal Article about the tent here.

April 2020: Alternate Care Site at Mill Street Parking Structure at Renown Regional

Renown’s HICS team decided to create an Alternate Care Site (ACS) in the Renown Regional Medical Center Mill Street parking structure. The ACS served additional hospitalized patients and allowed caregivers to remain on campus and still have access to existing hospital infrastructure such as lab, pharmacy, imaging, food services and other critical services. After just 10 days of construction, the ACS was completed on April 3, 2020 with space to hold up to 1,400 patients.

Check out photos of the ACS under construction here.

On Nov. 12, 2020, Renown opened the ACS to serve additional hospitalized patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who were clinically stable or improving. Healthcare workers at Renown cared for hundreds of patients at this site. In early Jan. 2021, the remaining patients returned home.

Check out the video of Connie, a patient who received care in the ACS.

April and July 2020: The LOVE Sculpture Placed at Renown Regional

On April 16, 2020, during a time of darkness and uncertainty, Artown loaned Renown the LOVE sculpture, a one-ton aluminum piece of art created by artist Laura Kimpton and fabricated by Jeff Schomberg. The structure, which originally debuted at Burning Man, was lit up Renown Regional's main entrance on Mill St.

Watch a video about the LOVE sculpture’s debut at Renown Regional.

On July 13, 2020, thanks to the support of former board chair and community supporter Blake Smith and the Keyser Foundation, the LOVE sculpture is now a permanent fixture at Renown Health. Throughout the pandemic, it has served as a source of inspiration, hope and positivity for our community and care providers.

Check out a video of the LOVE is Here to Stay celebration.

June 2020: Renown Offers In-House COVID Testing

In June 2020, the Renown laboratory team sprang into action to help meet the growing demand for COVID-19 testing amongst Washoe County residents and businesses. Renown invested in expanded staffing and in-house testing capabilities that ensured our teams could swab and process up to 1,000 COVID-19 tests for patients each day. All with results returning within hours.

November 2020: Renown Introduces “Hospital At Home” Remote Monitoring

In November 2020, six patients at Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center diagnosed with COVID-19 were outfitted with a remote Hospital at Home monitoring system. Renown clinicians plan to continue using this system to monitor upwards of 1,000 hospitalized patients and lower acuity patients from their homes.

December 2020: Renown Administers COVID-19 Vaccines to Health Care Employees

On Dec. 17, 2020, Renown began to vaccinate its healthcare workers. Among those receiving the first vaccines was Luis Martinez, a technician on Renown’s Clinical Decision Unit who cared for patients recovering from COVID-19 in the Alternate Care Site field hospital.

Read the Reno Gazette Journal article about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout at Renown.

January 2021: Renown Administers COVID-19 Vaccines to Community

After several weeks of successful employee and volunteer drive-thru vaccination events, Renown supported the Washoe County Health District and the state in vaccinating Washoe County community members.

Click here for a playlist of videos featuring Renown Health employees and patients talking about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.

February 2021: Local Widow Inspires Renown to Change Visitor Supporter Policy

Darlene Randolph’s husband Dave spent 17 days hospitalized at Renown Regional Medical Center before losing his battle with COVID-19 on December 13, 2020. Darlene wrote a passionate letter to Renown Health asking for the visitor policy that allowed patients with COVID-19 to receive visitors. In February 2021, Renown hospitals were among the first in the country to lift visitor restrictions for patients with COVID-19 to encourage families to be at the patient's bedside.

Read Darlene’s full story here.

May 2021: Renown Celebrates Volunteers, Partners and Community Who Aided in Vaccine Efforts

In May 2021, Renown administered the last dose of COVID-19 vaccines to community members in Renown’s drive-thru clinic. Between January and May 2021, over 80,000 doses were administered at the drive-thru. View drone footage of this effort here.

Click here to see pictures of vaccine volunteers and employees.

November 2021: Renown Offers Vaccine for Children Ages 5+

In November 2021, Renown vaccinated children in the Reno-Sparks community with the 2-dose series in a limited round of weekend clinics. The vaccine clinics featured therapy dogs, local mascots and donuts donated by Doughboy’s Donuts.

Click here to see pictures of the children’s vaccine clinics and watch a video about the clinics here.

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