It’s been a year of bewilderment, pain, fear, anger, sorrow and death.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has left no one unscathed. This has been a horrific experience that few of us have endured in our lifetimes.

But it’s also been a year of some triumphs. In an astounding feat, pharmaceutical companies took months — not the usual years — to develop a vaccine to blunt the effects of COVID-19. And countless acts of courage and compassion have been undertaken by people across the country to help alleviate the suffering of those most in need.

On March 16, 2020, Lewis County declared a state of emergency. It joined numerous other municipal governments in responding to this health care crisis with measures designed to protect members of the public.

“Almost one year later, 1,806 county residents have had the virus and 27 have died. There are 44 people in isolation and nearly 80 others who are quarantined due to exposure, although the numbers change daily,” according to a story published Monday by the Watertown Daily Times. “There are still a handful of people testing positive for the virus in the county’s nursing home, both residents and staff, and loved ones are still only able to visit their person through the use of technology. Relentless testing continues and now 2,375 people in the county are fully vaccinated against COVID with an additional 1,608 residents waiting for their second shots as of Friday afternoon.”

During its regular meeting on March 2, the Lewis County Board of Legislators designated March 15 through March 20 as COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Week. It will be a time to honor those lost to the virus and commemorate the work of health care workers, essential businesses and their staffs, the article reported.

A commemorative service hosted by Lowville clergy from Baptist, Mennonite, Nazarene, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches will be held online at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The county’s website will provide a link to the memorial week webpage.

“Forget-me-not flowers and the color blue have been chosen to be used to show solidarity and bring the county visually together for the week. Blue lights donated by the Lions Club will be strung at the small park at the intersection of State and Dayan streets in Lowville where, according to county Community Services Director Patricia Fralick, and two receptacles: one with packets of Forget-me-not seeds and one with tags upon which people can write the names of loved ones lost, a thank you or other remembrances and hang on the fence around the park,” according to the story. “County residents are encouraged to wear blue throughout the week and to create visual displays in homes, schools or businesses and submit photos of those displays to be part of a photo contest. All submissions must be made by March 18, and winners will be chosen the following day. People are also asked to share their ‘stories of community kindness,’ shop locally and to thank those who have kept the community going through trying times. On social media, residents are encouraged to use -naturallytogether to show support.”

We all should reflect on this past year and reach out to those who have been affected the hardest. Many mistakes have been made, and we must work more diligently to address these issues.

But there also is much to laud as individuals, organizations, companies and public bodies have done what they can to assist people who need help. On Sunday, the Watertown Daily Times will begin a weeklong series honoring those who have helped us navigate our way through this health care crisis called “Pillars in the Pandemic.”

We still have a way to go before this crisis ends, so everyone should continue to follow safety protocols. However, let’s cling to the hope of better days that will eventually arrive.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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