City health leaders reflect on COVID-19s mark in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A year ago, Duval County reported its first case of COVID-19, which changed our lives in ways many of us had never imagined.

City guides and hospital officials took time on Saturday to reflect on the past year.

“You can tell a lot about people’s reactions to difficulties,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry in a video statement posted on YouTube one year since he received an emergency warrant for COVID-19 in Duval County had signed. “These are defining moments for people in the community, and the people of Jacksonville have shown time and again since we were founded in 1822 that we are strong, compassionate, courageous, and resilient.”

COVID-19 has closed beaches, gyms and entertainment venues, switched children to online learning and left many people without work.

To date, more than 90,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in Duval County.

“The term for me that has really stuck together all last year is, in my opinion, a challenge,” said Dr. Chirag Patel, assistant chief medical officer at UF Health Jacksonville. “A challenge due to the number of cases, the severity of the illness and the high death rate from COVID, which together have a massive impact on the mental health and well-being of healthcare workers.”

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But Patel said the silver lining is that healthcare workers and the scientific community across the country have risen to the challenge.

A year later, cases are falling, and vaccination centers are being set up across the city, offering a glimmer of hope.

But the mayor encourages people not to let go of their guard completely just yet.

“We are really a kind and compassionate people. Now, a year later, more vaccines are becoming available, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to go a little further, ”said Curry. “I encourage everyone to fight to end this pandemic once and for all.”

When we see this light at the end of the tunnel, Patel also encourages people to continue wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing their hands frequently.

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