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Colorado hospital plants 1,400 flags as tribute to COVID patients they've treated

The flags outside the hospital represent the 1,400 COVID patients who have been treated at Lutheran Medical Center.

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — At the beginning, it was just one. Then, with time, the number of people who found themselves inside Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge battling COVID-19 grew and grew.

"We didn’t know what we were dealing with in March of 2020 when we started to get our first COVID patients," Sara Minott, Director of Critical Care at Lutheran, said. "When I look back a year ago, or to the beginning of 2020, I’m just shocked by the amount of learning we’ve had to do."

Minott has learned a lot over the past year. Part of that learning is how to grieve the amount of loss felt recently. 

Now, a new installation outside the hospital helps remember and honor the lives lost and those who have recovered. 

The 1,400 flags planted outside Lutheran symbolize the 1,400 COVID patients the doctors, nurses and staff have taken care of since the pandemic began. Nurses at Lutheran came up with the idea to remember the impact this virus has had.

"The flags represent all the patients that our hospital has cared for with COVID-19," Minott said. "The blue flags stand for all the patients who we were able to help recover and discharge from the hospital post their COVID-19 diagnosis. The white flags are the ones we were not able to save."

There’s more blue than white in the field outside the hospital. More survivors than victims.

The idea for the flags at Lutheran came from a group of nurses working at the hospital. They saw a similar installation on the National Mall in Washington honoring everyone who has died from COVID-19.

As life continues, people like Minott choose not to forget.

"The sense of loss that we have from COVID-19 is significant," Minott said. "Even though we lost a lot, we saved more. We helped more."

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