First local COVID-19 case was two years ago. Where do we stand now?

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 4:49 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Lives has changed for many since the beginning of the pandemic and health officials are reflecting, looking back at what it’s been like for the past two years since the first COVID-19 case was reported and there have been tens of thousands cases reported since.

“I think we’ve come a long way.”

Women’s Heath Coordinator Mary Ellen Smith recognizing the tragedies yet celebrating where we are now.

“There’s a lot to grieve, there’s a lot of lives lost, there’s a lot that’s very sad that has happened but I’m glad that we’re here today and have some tools to move forward, vaccinations testing all that kind of stuff. So yea, it’s hopeful,” Mary Ellen Smith said.

“Back then there was a lot of fear amongst the public quite frankly fear amongst health officials,” Smith said.

However, with about 12 percent of COVID-19 cases in Georgia coming from the Omicron subvariant BA2. Chatham County Health Department Administrator Dr. Chris Rustin says it’s important to stay prepared.

“So we’ve learned so much about it. but the thing we have to continue to plan for and respond is these various variants,” Dr. Chris Rustin said.

While we’ve hit a lull in cases, the pandemic is not over.

Residents and tourists are also remembering what it was like to have unfamiliar virus take away their sense of normalcy.”

“It’s been both a long time and a short time,” Savannah resident Michael Ayres said.

As the Coronavirus has shaken up the everyday lives of many, Michael Ayres said he’s blessed he and his family members have made it through without major issues.

“I was concerned because in the early days we weren’t really too sure what we were dealing with, but I knew we would eventually figure it out and get through it,” Ayres said.

After catching COVID-19 in December despite being vaccinated and boosted, he said he’s accepted the virus is here to stay.

“It’s apart of the environment now and we have to deal with it, just like climate change,” Ayre said. “It’s some thing we’re going to have to adapt to.”

Shane Delavan distinctly remembers being separated from friends, family and co-workers.

“It was a bit of a mental shock, a bit of an emotional shock because we’re so used to being connected with each other,” Delavan said.

The pandemic forcing him to see things he took for granted.

“I really valued those two years and I’m now ready to reconnect with a bunch of people,” Delevan said. “I’m visiting from Denver and I am so delighted to be in such a welcoming city like Savannah. It’s such a great feeling to be able to travel again.”

Through the good and the bad, many agreeing the past two years was an experience they won’t forget.

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