COVID-19 remembrance set in park - Odessa American: Local News

COVID-19 remembrance set in park | Posted: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:42 am

A little over a year after the first COVID-19 cases appeared in Odessa, the city’s two hospitals, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, the City of Odessa and Connection Christian Church will honor the victims and their families and friends at 7 p.m. Sunday in Memorial Gardens Park south of Music City Mall on the south side of East 42nd Street.

The highlight will be the release of floating lanterns on the park’s lake in memory of the victims.

Reflecting on the pandemic and its manifold ramifications will be speakers including Medical Center Health System President-CEO Russell Tippin, MCHS’s chief nursing officer, Christin Timmons, Odessa Regional Medical Center President-CEO Stacey Brown and ORMC’s chief nursing officer, Carol Cates.

MCHS spokesman Trevor Tankersley said the free event has been in the developmental stage for months. “We invite the community to join us for a service of remembrance and hope as we release lanterns on the water to remember survivors and those who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19,” Tankersley said.

“We will recognize the health care community and show our appreciation for their service. It’s been a long year for everyone. The first case in Odessa was in late March last year and we wanted to wait till a bit after Easter. It’s a way to look back and reflect and we have sent invitations to civic leaders and family members to come out.”

The event is titled “One Year Later: A Service of Remembrance and Hope.”

Timmons said the pandemic particularly tested the nurses, who sometimes stayed at the hospital to avoid infecting their families while giving special attention to covid patients and their loved ones. “The patients have been very appreciative of the staff and all we have been doing,” said Timmons.

“They couldn’t have visitors, so the staff took more time to talk with them, play games and provide face time with their families on their own iPhones and iPads.”

Asked if the patients and staff were frightened, Timmons said, “Yes, when you can’t breathe it causes pain and anxiety. The nurses were scared when covid first came out because of their fear of the unknown.

“But health care providers are used to running into the fire, so it was not about caring for the patients, it was about taking covid home to their families. So we gave them places to shower and stay here. We think constantly of those who left us and our hearts go out to the people who suffered loss.”

A recent count in Ector County showed 16,602 cases and 351 deaths while Midland County had had 16,943 cases and 261 deaths. Statewide totals were 2,786,219 cases and 48,134 deaths and nationally the figures were 30,147,895 cases and 547,296 deaths.