One year ago on this date, the city of Hartford marked a grim day as the first resident of the capital city succumbed to a COVID-19-related death.
Lorraine Whalen, a 93-year-old grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of 25, was the first resident of Hartford to die a coronavirus-related death.
She died alone in a hospital room with no family by her side, Whalen's daughter-in-law said, and that was heartbreaking.
Because of the contagiousness of the virus, hospitals could not allow loved ones into hospitals to be there with sick and dying patients.
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Whalen's family members made an impassioned plea Thursday, on the anniversary of her death, for people to get a coronavirus vaccine, to wear a mask to protect others and to be safe.
“We want everybody in the world to realize that COVID has taken a lot from everybody in the world,” Whalen’s daughter, Loretta Carter, said during a news conference held Thursday to mark the somber anniversary. “Please everybody, fight back. Get your vaccines and take care of your loved ones and make them safe by you getting your vaccine.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, city leaders, and faith leaders held the news conference to mark the one-year anniversary of Whalen's death.
“Today, we gather together to remember Ms. Whalen and to remember all of those who we’ve lost over this year,” Bronin said.
“The profound tragedy of this year is that not only have so many lives have been lost in our community and in communities across the country but that as those lives were cut short, families often didn’t have a chance to grieve, didn’t have the chance to grieve with friends, with the community broadly and sometimes with one another, so as a community, we will continue to find ways as we move past this pandemic to remember and to honor and to celebrate the lives that we’ve all lost,” Bronin said.
On March 25, 2020, there had been 875 confirmed cases of the virus in Connecticut, 20 of which were in Hartford, and there had been 19 coronavirus-related deaths in the state. Two were in Hartford County.
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As of yesterday, there have been 302,022 confirmed cases of the virus in the state and 7,852 COVID-19 related deaths.
On Saturday, 1,000 candles will be placed on the pond in Bushnell Park as a remembrance and those who have lost loved ones will be placing wooden hearts in the city.
Connecticut’s daily positivity rate as of yesterday was 4.3 percent.
Over the last year, three coronavirus vaccines have been approved to be administered in the United States and 929,604 people in Connecticut had received at least one dose of a vaccine as of March 15, the most recent data data is available for, and 506,768 are fully vaccinated.