Memorializing those lost to COVID

Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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All of us have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic in some way or another in the last 21 months.

However, for some of us, it has been worse than others. Sentara Obici Hospital took some time on Tuesday to recognize the 248 people who have died due to COVID-19 at the hospital since the start of the pandemic. During the ceremony, they also paid tribute to the many health care workers who have done so much to care for the COVID patients who have come through the hospital during the pandemic.

During the ceremony, Rose Bailey, a quality improvement coordinator at the hospital who got a breakthrough case of COVID-19 in July despite having been vaccinated a year ago, told her story.

Bailey was on a ventilator for two weeks in the intensive care unit, but she survived to tell her story.

“I’m very blessed to be alive,” she told this week’s gathering. About 1,602 COVID-19 patients at the hospital were treated and released.

The memorial stone that now rests in the hospital’s rose garden tells a story — for the health care workers, a story of resilience in the face of unspeakable trauma; for those left behind, a story of thousands throughout the region who are mourning these 248 precious lives; for those who lived through their battle with COVID, a story of survival against all the odds that were stacked up against them.

We recognize Obici’s contributions to the fight against this virus and the hospital’s memorial. We also recognize, however, that the fight against COVID-19 is not yet over. The best way to truly pay tribute to these folks is to do the things that have been proven to help fight COVID — get vaccinated, get your booster shot, get tested and stay at home if you feel sick, and avoid large crowds.