As we reflect on the anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 in Niagara, we acknowledge both our community’s journey, and what still lies ahead.
We recognize those who have lost their lives as a result of this pandemic. At present, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 369 residents, leaving a lasting impact on their families, friends and caregivers alike. For these residents, the legacy of COVID-19 will be ever-present as they remember lives well lived by their loved ones.
We also acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 on the collective mental health of our community. Many of us struggle with feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression and stress. The pandemic has also profoundly affected our economy, with many losing their jobs and some businesses closing forever. The uncertainty created by the pandemic has led many in our community to feel confusion, frustration and even anger – we all must continue to be patient and kind to each other.
But we can all take some comfort in knowing the end is in sight. With four vaccines having now been approved, it is our hope that the journey will not be much longer. Residents should know that we have a plan and we are ready to administer as many vaccines as possible once supply is made available.
Throughout this pandemic, we have continued to hear amazing stories of residents supporting one another. By staying home, you helped to keep many others safe. By wearing a mask, you showed that you care more about your neighbour than your own comfort. By practising physical distancing, you made a meaningful sacrifice that has slowed the spread of the virus. Many of you also stepped up and supported local businesses during this challenging time - we have never been more proud of our community.
In recognition of this first anniversary, all of Niagara’s municipalities will be lowering their flags to half-staff from March 12-14. Rest assured that we will come together as a community when this is over to reflect on our experiences, loss and growth, but for now we all need to keep doing our part to keep one another safe and healthy.
Although everyone’s experience through the pandemic is personal, it is our hope that we continue to build a stronger and more resilient community. We want to express our most sincere thanks and appreciation for everything each resident and each family has done.