In a YouTube video Wednesday, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer looked back on one year of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)

In a YouTube video Wednesday, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer looked back on one year of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer reflects on one year mark of COVID-19 pandemic

The world and how people view it changed drastically one year ago.

Alberta reported its first case of the novel coronavirus, now known widely as COVID-19 on March 5 and the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic on March 11.

Red Deer didn’t report its first case of the virus until March 19 but had already activated its emergency operations centre to prepare for the effects of the pandemic.

Wednesday, in a YouTube video, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer addressed the year that’s been and how it has impacted the community.

“The past year has affected us all and our loved ones in significant ways. As I reflect on these past 12 months, what stands out most is how our community pulled together – demonstrating our ability to respond to challenges head-on,” she said.

“In those early months, we adapted to new ways of staying connected with one another. We posted messages of support in our windows, we dropped off care packages on doorsteps and thanked health-care and front-line workers.

“We discovered new ways to celebrate holidays with family and friends from a distance. Local organizations and groups found solutions for community events.”

The pandemic loosened its grip on the community somewhat over the summer months, allowing few activities to return in small doses.

“The warm summer months brought new challenges, but we did our best to translate adversity into possibilities,” Veer said in the video.

“We explored our city’s beloved parks and trails and spend time with friends and family outdoors. Fall brought a return to the classroom and many other activities that we look forward to.”

As the fall went on, tighter COVID-19 restrictions took hold across the province in November and December.

Red Deer experienced its first death from the pandemic in December and had one of its hardest months in February, with a record number of active cases.

Red Deer has had 2,865 confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic last March and 31 deaths.

“While we have pulled together, there is little doubt that this has been an incredibly hard year,” Veer said.

“Families have mourned the loss of loved ones, we’ve battled loneliness and isolation. Businesses have suffered in fear and uncertainty have at times divided the people of our community.

“As we look to the future with some hope, we need to remember these lasting impacts and continue supporting each other. Check on friends and neighbours. Support our local businesses – encourage front-line and essential workers and please continue to follow public health orders.”

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