• Kirk Gaw

One Year After COVID In The Walkerton Area Community

Many keep guard one year after coronavirus first hit the Nation gripped with fear and uncertainty. The COVID epidemic kept us hopeful that it would not affect our loved ones and most people could not exact how much loss it would cost. Many hurdles obstructed homes, businesses, government institutions, and schools. People were forced to wear face masks to protect others from nose and blasts that certainly spread possible infected particles.

We needed to constantly sanitize hands, protect contact locations with plexiglass barriers, and watched our physical distance from 6' to 8' minimums. The first US deaths corresponded to cruise ship passengers and their returns home. And the first Indiana death was confirmed on March 6th after an Indianapolis professional returned from Boston after a Bio-Gen conference there. Our communities were completely locked down from March 2020 until mid-June 2020 and people were only allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes. St. Joseph County became an epicenter of COVID infection and deaths were at a high.

From Miller's Merry Manor of Walkerton.

In Walkerton it was during a July sporting practice that kids were found infected and the virus became a major concern for the John Glenn School Corporation. Kids were getting infected and so were adult residents of the area. Several popular businesses were forced to shut down and employees were quarantined. People took hand sanitizing and face mask wearing seriously for the most part in the Walkerton area. According to a recent ABC 57 interview about the 1 year anniversary St. Joseph County Health Officer Bob Einterz said. "I think it’s fair to say when I heard about the very first case of the coronavirus. I never expected the sort of pandemic that we’re seeing now." As cases, illness and death tolls started to skyrocket, a quick and sudden urgency in trying to cure the virus and fix the pandemic-mess set in with doctors and scientists working around the clock to trial, test and get COVID vaccines shipped out and into arms. "It’s been truly miraculous.

The development of the vaccine, the production of the vaccine, the administration of the vaccine here. I think it’s been about as close to a miracle as you could expect,” Einterz said. On December 17th, the very first shipment of the 2-shot Pfizer vaccine arrived in St, Joseph county to give to frontline healthcare workers. As time went on, the two-shot Moderna vaccine was introduced, and just within the last week the one-and-done Johnson and Johnson vaccine has too. All the while, vaccine shipments expanded and so did eligibility. “We started with age eligibility here and continue with age eligibility,” Einterz said.

From Miller's Merry Manor of Walkerton.

In the beginning stages, St. Joseph County was only able to vaccinate a few hundred Hoosiers a week, but since, has bumped up majorly, inoculating over 1,000 daily. “It means we’re on track to get back to normal really very soon here I think and growth, is only anticipated to go up from here!" He added, “I expect age eligible to continue. I would fully anticipate that we will move to the 40 and over individuals within the next week or two, in addition broaden the eligibility for medical conditions and with that said, we are really doing a wonderful job here in this County vaccination the most vulnerable, the most at risk.” Today, nearly 30-million people have been infected in our nation and more than 500,000 Americans have died. Cases are dropping and vaccinations are going up. In St. Joseph County 30,324 persons have been vaccinated between the series of Moderna, Pfizer, and the Johnson & Johnson serums. Since last year 536 St. Joseph County residents have died. Some from Walkerton. Of the 30,668 cases in St. Joseph County many are in Walkerton as well. This has been taken as a serious matter. It has affected everyone. More people are getting the vaccine everyday. Stages of reopening are returning to normal now that more people are vaccinated.

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