Photo by Sue WatsonParticipating in the ceremony on the steps of city hall are, from left, Mayor Kelvin Buck, pastor Wallace Bostelmann, alderman Lennell Lucas, city employee Sandy Buford, aldermen Bernita Fountain and Tim Liddy, and city employee Pam Lewis and her sister Anna Hubbard.
COVID - ‘one death is too many’
A small memorial ceremony was held Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m. In Holly Springs to honor lives lost in the COVID19 pandemic.
Mayor Kelvin Buck said it coincided with a national memorial service and candlelighting ceremony.
A candle was lit for those who lost their lives nationwide, statewide, in Marshall County and Holly Springs.
The service began with prayer by Rev. Wallace Bostelmann, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Holly Springs.
A newcomer to Holly Springs, Bostelmann said people are hurting all over the country, state and city for loved ones who have lost their lives to the coronavirus.
“Let them feel the hand of your healing,” he prayed. “And let us lean on each other’s shoulders. Let us never stop praying for all the medical people working on the cure.”
Buck said residents have called to see how the city is helping to keep people safe, where they can get the vaccine and to find how to connect with providers in the healthcare community.
The City of Holly Springs has kept in touch with the community through the media and in touch with the medical community, Buck said.
“Just about everybody has been touched in one way or another by the virus,” he said.
He recalled the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Holly Springs when hundreds of people lost their lives to the virus.
“Again, we face a virus that has some type of capacity to take lives,” the mayor said.
As of Jan. 18, there were 390,518 deaths nationwide. Mississippi had 5,524 deaths and Marshall County/Holly Springs lost 65.
“One death is too many,” Buck said.
The service was to mourn and memorialize those who died.
“Prayer can make us come through this,” he said.
Alderman-at-large Tim Liddy, a pharmacist, reviewed what has transpired in the community since February/March 2020 when COVID cases were discovered in Mississippi.
Since then, the local and national response has been pitched toward organizing communities to prepare to treat the virus infection, prevent exposure and to care for those who became infected.
He said measures recommended by health officials that are taken by the public include hand-washing, using hand sanitizer, wearing face masks and staying home.
The next stage is to roll out the vaccine, he said.
The vaccine was offered to the hospital staff first because they are in imminent jeopardy of getting the virus. Then other health care medical staff and practitioners were offered the vaccine in Phase 1 rollout. Next persons age 75 and older are being immunized.
Eighteen counties in Mississippi have set up sites where people can get the vaccine if they register and make an appointment. Marshall County does not have a site for vaccination. The local health department is involved in administering the COVID tests only.
Liddy said the vaccine is not available at local pharmacies yet.
The COVID vaccine is not like the influenza vaccine. It has to be kept frozen until minutes or a few days at most before it is injected.
Those who want to register to get the vaccination at one of the 18 county sites must go online to the Mississippi Department of Health website and make an appointment.
Liddy said he hopes the community will get a vaccination site at some point. All that is decided by the state of Mississippi and MDH, he said.
He said not as many cases of the flu and other winter infections are being seen by doctors and at pharmacies this winter because the precautions taken to prevent exposure to COVID are also suppressing the usual winter season illnesses.
“Kids are not getting so many ear infections and flu,” Liddy said. “If we keep doing what we are doing, it is only a matter of time to get everyone the vaccine.”
Buck said Alliance Healthcare System (Williams Medical Clinic) was chosen as a provider of the vaccine. But the vaccines do not sit on the refrigerator shelf. Supplies are soon exhausted due to demand and inability to restock, Buck said.
“I hope everyone will continue to follow the guidelines which may have kept the numbers (of cases) down,” the mayor said.
He thanked the first responders (firefighters, police, utility workers) for keeping the city going during this health crisis.
Fountain, Buford, and Lewis lit the candles, then a closing prayer was offered up by Rep. John Faulkner.