Flags were at half-mast across the region, including outside Clarence-Rockland City Hall, on Thursday for the national day of observance to commemorate those who died of COVID-19.
Flags were at half-mast across the region, including outside Clarence-Rockland City Hall, on Thursday for the national day of observance to commemorate those who died of COVID-19.

Region remembers those lost in pandemic

Stephen Jeffery
EAP
Flags were at half-mast on Thursday to mark the national day of observance to commemorate those who died of COVID-19.

Exactly one year after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, Canadians were asked to remember those who lost their lives, as well as healthcare staff and other workers on the frontline during the past 12 months. To date, 69 people have died in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) area, 31 of whom were in Prescott-Russell communities.

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Se souvenir des vies perdues lors de la pandémie

The flags in front of federal, provincial, and municipal buildings across the region were at half-mast to recognize the day. In a statement, Champlain mayor Normand Riopel said the pandemic would “leave an important scar in the lives of our residents”. He asked residents to observe a moment of silence at 1:00 p.m.

“On my behalf, and the other council members and administration staff, we would like to offer our deepest condolences to the affected families,” he said. “We would also like to thank all the frontline workers who are fighting against the coronavirus and to thank you for your efforts and dedication.”

Clarence-Rockland mayor Guy Desjardins praised the resilience of residents and business owners, and paid tribute to those who had died and frontline workers. “Our health care, and essential workers continue to provide services in difficult conditions, while some of our neighbours have unfortunately lost their jobs,” he said. “The flags at City Hall are at half-mast today to mark this sad day, and to commemorate the memory of our family members and friends who are no longer with us because of this virus. Let us take a few minutes to pay tribute and honour them in our thoughts.”

Hawkesbury mayor Paula Assaly paid tribute to the victims of COVID-19, their families and friends. "Let us come together as a nation to reflect on this past year, which has affected us all in one manner or another," she said.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in the EOHU was publicly confirmed on March 14, 2020, 2933 cases have been reported, 1237 of them in Prescott-Russell. That number has since been eclipsed by the number of vaccines administered in the region. As of Wednesday, 12,806 doses of the vaccine had been administered in the EOHU.

EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the vaccines were a “light at the end of the tunnel”, but the return to normality would take longer than many people would expect. “I see the beginning of the end, but it’s going to be long,” he said. “Just because you’re vaccinated doesn’t mean you can take off masks, but that will be a progressive thing.” 

The region on Thursday 

Of the 159 active cases in the EOHU on Thursday, 25 were variants of concern. Thirty-seven cases were active in Prescott-Russell communities, including: 

  • 13 in Clarence-Rockland; 

  • 11 in Alfred-Plantagenet; 

  • 4 in East Hawkesbury; 

  • 3 in Casselman; 

  • 3 in Hawkesbury; 

  • 2 in Russell; 

  • 1 in The Nation, and; 

  • 0 in Champlain.