Some of the 500,000 COVID-19 deaths include local community leaders

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 7:02 PM EST
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) -As our country reaches a grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from COVID-19, those lost to the virus here in the east are being remembered.

“It’s hit home and it’s realized that, the Lord above is gonna take ya when he wants ya,” said Craven County Commissioner, George Liner.

Hundreds of those deaths happened right here in the east, 113 just in Craven County.

“Half of our deaths were probably in rest homes then the other half were elderly people, a lot of them has comorbidities,” said Craven County Health Director, Scott Harrelson.

Over the past year the virus hasn’t show any mercy taking anyone from healthcare workers to community members, like Washington Mayor Mac Hodges who died back in August.

“The loss of the mayor here in Washington was you know, shocking for a lot of people, it’s something that he really can’t be replaced,” said Washington City Manager, Jonathan Russell.

And longtime Craven County Commissioner Johnnie Sampson Jr. died in November, leaving an empty seat at the table.

“Mr. Sampson was just an outstanding individual. Mr. Sampson cared for his community, cared for his county and cared for people just in general,” Liner said.

Yet in the midst of all the loss, there is some hope.

Harrelson says about 50% of the county’s 75 and up population has gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine and nearly half of the 65 and up population has too.

Harrelson says it’s a promising sign for a better future. “I do believe that we have brighter days ahead.”

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