NewsLocal News


Packers host 250 frontline workers, including healthcare professionals hit hard by pandemic

Posted at 1:36 AM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 02:46:42-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC26) -- With under 800 fans at this weekend's Packers game, Lambeau Field was quiet compared to the usual 80,000-fan-filled stadium.

That's why the team invited spectators like Bellin Home Health team leader Melissa Patnode, who make a loud impact on the community.

"They [local nurses] feel very honored to be here [Lambeau Field] and they do not take it for granted one bit," Patnode said.

Nearly 250 Northeast Wisconsin frontline workers and their families attended Saturday night's game. Patnode invited her two sons to join her.

"We have worked so hard over the last year, so for not only Bellin to think of my team [but] for the Packers to honor us by allowing us to be at this special event is just amazing," Patnode said.

But Patnode says her Bellin health care team is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

"In the hospital environment, you have one person to worry about that's Covid positive," she said. "And my team goes in and it might three [or] four family members that are there."

So the chance to see a Packers game in person is a bit of relief for local health care workers.

"Work is 24-7 it feels like with the pandemic," Bellin Health Infectious Disease Doctor Michael Landrum said. "So to be able to come here and just get away from it all and root for the Packers is a great thing to be able to do."

Before heading to the Packers game, Landrum was busy helping out with some of Green Bay's first Covid vaccines.

"At Bellin, we started vaccinating yesterday [Friday]," Landrum said. "We vaccinated even more people today. We'll be vaccinating tomorrow. We've started vaccinating our frontline healthcare workers, so we're very excited about that."

Landrum's healthcare team hopes things will get back to normal soon -- maybe to a point when Lambeau Field is packed once again.

"You could just feel how everyone was so excited to be there getting the vaccine thinking that we can tough this out a few more months and stay safe... get more people vaccinated," he said. "Maybe we turn the corner on this thing and get back to normal."