Looking back, it has been a monumental year.
It was our March 19, 2020 edition where we made it abundantly clear in a headline to readers that “County faces COVID-19.”
That issue chronicled the first confirmed positive case in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) unit catchment area.
Emergency orders were declared, closures were forced on many businesses and people were shut-in unless they were attending an essential workplace.
A full year has passed and while the great initial fears have been calmed with news of a vaccine, this event is not quite over.
Despite efforts in recent weeks, less than 7% of Canadians have received their first dose of serum. WDGPH records quote an 8.4% vaccination rate – better than the national figure. That is a testament to Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer, her staff and tremendous partners (like the County of Wellington) who didn’t dither when it came time to making choices for public health.
As we have suggested often over this past year, a time will come (and must come) when actions of various levels of government will come under scrutiny. The amount of money spent to combat COVID-19 was astronomical and equally imperfect.
Warden Kelly Linton perhaps summed it up best when he suggests in a year-in interview, that actions and measures taken were akin to building an airplane while in flight. There was no reference manual or guidance per se. Even the so-called experts circling the globe seemed to be of different minds until the routines of masking, sanitizing and physical distancing were settled on as must-dos in the fight against the spread.
Historians will be kept busy for a generation chronicling the ebb and flow of this health emergency – an event of such great consequence to only be relatable to the Spanish flu a full century ago.
Thanks to the efforts of Advertiser staff, Wellington County will have a bulging archive of solid, well written news that tells the story of the pandemic here.
Canadians will soon emerge from the depths of this pandemic. A combination of vaccine penetration and herd immunity will get us to a point that life can be lived again. Many of the joys people gave up in the name of reducing the spread will return and perhaps be appreciated more.
Travel, dining out, theatre, dinner parties, sporting events, worship – these are all things that were sidelined in favour of public health. These social events are now in clear view and in due time the public can enjoy them again.
Although we consider faith a personal matter, it is important to note many of us have relied heavily on faith this past year. Faith to get through the day, week or in some cases hours at a time. Faith in our boss or co-workers, community leaders, families and, for a good portion of our readership, faith in God. Believing in something larger than the individual self helped many overcome their anxieties and fears. Rely on that faith just a bit longer – we are so close.
For the leaders amongst us, those of strong comportment and character needed in the worst of times, the journey this past year has been a challenge like never seen before – keeping people’s spirits up and motivated.
It was a year for steely resolve, and we suspect the weeks and months ahead will require that same level of determination.
After a year like no other, we are on the way to normal very soon.