Nurses and health care workers wearing masks and scrubs stepped outside St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford Friday afternoon to witness a "drive-by salute" in their honor.

A procession of fire trucks, police cruisers and EMS vehicles made their way past the emergency room and around the hospital campus with sirens activated and lights flashing. The health care workers returned appreciation to the public safety workers with "thank you" signs and thumbs-up of their own.

The salute was organized by New Bedford's police and fire departments to show appreciation for the health care workers' commitment to patients and the city during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro.

“It is a really small measure of our gratitude for the incredible work they are doing up close and personal every day," Cordeiro said in a statement. "We are inspired by their dedication and willingness to serve in a way that many don’t see first-hand."

Such drive-by salutes to medical workers are being conducted in towns and cities across the country as the nation deals with its surge in COVID-19 cases.

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