Oshawa mayor marks one year anniversary of COVID-19

·3 min read

In recognition of the anniversary of COVID-19, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter is remembering those lives lost to the virus.

“Today marks the one year mark since COVID-19 took the first death, and unfortunately, 22,000 Canadians plus have been taken through COVID-19,” he says, noting locally in Oshawa, 50 residents have lost their lives, including 34 of whom were in long-term care facilities.

Across Durham, almost 300 lives have been taken by COVID-19.

In recognition, Oshawa will be joining communities across the country for a National Day of Observance for COVID-19, and flags at city hall and city facilities will be lowered to half-mast.

Carter says flags will remain lowered until March 15.

“We are going to lower our flags to half-mast for these days to observe those lives that have been lost, but also recognize those people that have served us so well, as we have dealt with COVID-19,” he says.

“This is our day of observance. This gives us the opportunity to be able to not only reflect upon the lives that have been lost, but also celebrate those that have been serving us.”

Carter says he’s “proud” of the community for coming together as numerous challenged were faced over the past year, noting local businesses have stood up to the challenges finding new and creative ways to continue providing services to the community.

He adds frontline health care workers, health professional and essential workers worked tirelessly to provide care and services safely and efficiently, and Oshawa residents have followed protocols, limited essential trips and stayed safe.

“It is an important time as we face COVID-19 together,” he says. “This past year has shown us the great strength of our city and I have to say that I am so proud of each and every citizen here in the great City of Oshawa.”

As the vaccine rollout is still in the early stages, Carter is encouraging residents to stay vigilant, keep wearing masks, washing hands, staying six feet apart, and staying within family units.

“As a community, let’s continue to move in the right direction and towards recovery,” says Carter. “No matter how big or small our individual contribution is, we can all have an impact in helping our community recover.”

A statement was also released on behalf of Regional Chair John Henry and the mayors of all eight municipalities in the region marking the National Day of Observance for COVID-19.

“While this has been the toughest year in Durham Region’s history, the strength and resilience of our community has shone through the brightest,” it reads, noting it is the frontline and essential workers who show what true heroism looks like. “The sacrifices and bravery they continue to show serves as a constant inspiration.”

With Durham Region’s vaccination strategy underway, the region says efforts are turning to restoration and recovery.

“But we must hold firm in the meantime. We must remain hopeful. And we must never forget those who we have lost,” the statement continues, adding it is crucial to make informed decisions that protect the safety of everyone.

“There is light at the end of this long tunnel. Together, we will get through to the other side. And together we remain, #DurhamStrong.”

Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express