ENC marks one year since first COVID-19 case in North Carolina, is optimistic job of beating virus is working

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — March 3, 2020 is when the first COVID-19 case was discovered in North Carolina. Wednesday marked one year since the coronavirus pandemic reached our state.

Since then, at least 863,000 in our state have had the virus with more than 11,000 deaths.

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It’s been 365 days of changed lives, lost lives, lost jobs and more. But in one year, Eastern North Carolinians said they see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s been a long, tough 12 months for students, parents and business owners. Many people never imagined the pandemic would last this long. After a year of dark times, people are trying to make things brighter and focus on the good.

“Take advantage of what you do have because obviously it’s not promised,” said Kortney Edwards, a senior at East Carolina University. “This year was like a slap in the face and it made me realize, like okay, get your priorities together.”

Many people have hopes that a year from now, things will be even better.

— Caroline Bowyer

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Pitt County’s first COVID-19 case was March 19, 2020. Vidant Health CEO Mike Waldrum said now is no time to let our guard down. He is hopeful progress is being made in fighting the virus.

“We have to be very cognizant that we are still in it and that we reflect on how hard it’s been and that we respect the families that have lost people,” Waldrum said. “The communities that have lost people and the providers that have tried to help people through this really difficult time.” 

Vidant Health received its dosage of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine and have begun distributing it. Health officials are optimistic the vaccines will continue to help decrease the virus’ spread.

— Amber Joseph

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Healthcare workers in Lenoir County and other parts of ENC say things are still changing in their business because of COVID-19.

The healthcare officials in Lenoir County say it’s been a challenging year, but the county’s health department now has a bigger role and is spearheading local efforts to respond to the pandemic.

“The health departments are always working in their communities, but many times behind the scenes,” Lenoir County Health Director Pamela Brown said. “This year, its put us front and center but more than that, its made our biggest partner the public and it’s really put the light on that partnership of how much public health depends on that partnership with the public.”

Officials in Lenoir County say they’re grateful to everyone who has been a part of the solution by following COVID guidelines over the past year.

– Ford Sanders

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