Delaware’s 2,919 COVID victims honored at memorial service

More than two years after the pandemic began, Delaware leaders met with friends and family members of those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long officiated at the ceremony and spoke about the loss felt by so many across the state and country.

“We have 2,919 empty chairs at our kitchen tables to date, missed little league games, weddings we’ll never attend,” Hall-Long said.

Despite the loss, she said there have been demonstrations of community empowerment.

“We have come together with victims through this time as the community has wrapped its arms around all of us, our healthcare systems, hospitals, long term care, our medical reserve corps, [and] the department of public health. And they’ve given us hope through the vaccination and the hope that we have for tomorrow,” Hall-Long said.

This community immunization effort has resulted in 81% of state residents over the age of 12 receiving at least one dose, while 71% of this group have been fully vaccinated.

For some, however, the loss of a loved one came at a time when that last hug wasn’t allowed.

“Unfortunately, to protect ourselves and each other, we couldn’t personally say goodbye to our sick loved ones,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the state Department of Public Health. “These are dearly loved and sorely missed mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and children. And sometimes such losses can be almost too much to bear.”

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