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Memorial Health Meadows Hospital in Vidalia holding COVID memorial tree lighting

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:42 PM EST
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VIDALIA, Ga. (WTOC) - While the pandemic has been going on for nearly two years, many families in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry are still feeling the impacts it’s had on their loved ones.

The Memorial Health Meadows Hospital in Vidalia is remembering those impacted by COVID-19 with an ornament and tree lighting ceremony on Thursday night.

It is very special for not only the family members who are here for their loved ones, but the hospital staff who’ve been working on the frontlines since the very beginning. Over the last few weeks, the staff have been gathering names, submitted by families, to make ornaments and Thursday night, all 73 of them are hanging on the tree.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen McColl says all of the ornaments are personalized with what the families wanted to put on them. Some have names accompanied by the year and angel wings. McColl says the ornaments represent people who’ve both lost their lives due to COVID or who’ve been severely impacted. McColl says they wanted this ceremony to bring the community together. At this hospital, McColl says they had their worst surge from July to September. She tells me there was a day in August when every bed had a COVID patient in it.

“We all want to get past the pandemic, but we don’t want to forget that there are a large number of people who’ve been impacted by this. Tonight gives us the ability to acknowledge that. To say this is still a problem and this is something that we still are dealing with,” Dr. McColl said.

Dr. McColl says since November 24, they’ve had no COVID patients. She says this is the first time in months she can say that. The ceremony is underway here. There will be speakers including a family member of someone who lost their life to the virus. McColl says they expect to put more ornaments up on the tree until the end of the month.

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