As we mark the one-year anniversary of this global pandemic, we have each found ways to adapt and adjust to the public health recommendations. From the daily changes at the gym and grocery store to the significance of the ongoing border closure – our lives have been impacted in numerous ways.

While we hope to have finally turned the corner, and we’ve begun to vaccinate our neighbours, today Windsor-Essex surpassed 400 lives lost to COVID-19.

There are no words to express the grief these families in our community have experienced this year. It starts with the fear of a positive diagnosis, anxiety upon hospitalization and the trauma of losing a loved one. This pain is aggravated because public health rules prevent many from visiting hospitals or attending memorial events.

Each one of us is impatient to return to our pre-pandemic lifestyles. Everyone wants to turn the page on this horrible pandemic year. As we continue to fight our way through this global crisis, we must always remember those who fell along the way. Lives lost and families heartbroken. The world’s attention has been captured by headline figures: numbers of cases, number of vaccinations or numbers of jobs lost. But if you’re someone who lost a single loved one to COVID-19, none of the rest of that matters.

My sincere condolences to all those in Windsor-Essex who have suffered, been sick or lost someone to COVID-19. Together, in honour of each of these 400-plus neighbours, we must all resolve to do our part: continue to follow public health advice, socially distance and take care to never let your guard down.

We will get through this, in honour of those we have lost.

-Mayor Drew Dilkens