A message to the residents and workers of Worcestershire, from Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health in Worcestershire
“One year ago, as Covid-19 arrived on our shores, none of us could have imagined how our lives would change in the coming months. The past year has seen the pandemic effect all aspects of our lives, across every age group and every part of the county. I know some of you will have lost precious loved ones during this past year. I want to offer you my deepest condolences if you have suffered a tragic loss and you will be in our thoughts this week, as we pay our respects to all those who have died during the pandemic. If you are unwell with Covid-19 or long Covid, I want to wish you a speedy recovery, and hope you will soon be back in better health. It is a reminder to us all, that this virus is still with us and can still impact our lives.
“Even for those of us who have not suffered directly with Covid-19, our lives have also been affected. Some of our residents have lost their employment or businesses, some have their shops and services closed, waiting for the chance to re-open. Our school children and young people have been out of the classroom, learning online, missing friends and activities. We have all had to celebrate birthdays, Easter, Christmas, EID, and other key milestones, in lockdown. We’ve not been able to visit family and friends, loved ones in care homes, relatives scattered around the country. We’ve missed hugs, kisses, handshakes. The year has placed demands on every one of us, from our youngest to our eldest, and of course none of it has been easy.
“In times of difficulty such as these, it is always so heartening to look for the helpers, the volunteers and those who just lend a hand. We’ve seen so much of this across our county in the past 12 months. Our NHS and social care staff have worked tirelessly to support our residents. Often away from their own families and working long hours, they have selflessly dedicated themselves to taking care of us. Businesses have had to support workforces, implement new measures to keep everyone safe and continue to provide services and goods. Hundreds of our residents signed up to volunteer help to those in need, through the Here2help scheme. We have seen charities, voluntary groups and food banks step in to support communities and offer whatever is needed. Neighbours have checked on one another, cooked food, done the shopping, waved through windows. I want to take this moment to thank every single one of you. Thank you for every gesture, big or small, every act of kindness, every act of generosity. It has all been vital to the people you have supported.
“At the start of the pandemic, our children drew rainbows and placed them in windows across the county to remind us all that there will be brighter days. And those days are coming now. Our children and young people are back in the classroom. They have made so many sacrifices this past year, to protect our elderly and vulnerable and their communities and I want to take a moment to thank all of our under 18 year olds for doing this. Our children have had to adapt and adjust in extraordinary ways, and they should be rightfully proud of how they have helped in this pandemic. For our adults, the vaccination programme is now moving with extraordinary pace, protecting people from the virus and helping us reduce the spread of Covid-19. Our residents have been coming forward for vaccination and regular testing, both of which are so vital if we are to return to a more normal life. Worcestershire’s covid-19 rates are reducing and the easing of lockdown restrictions has begun. All of this is great news and a beacon of hope for us all.
“So, one year on, we can look to the future with optimism and positivity. Worcestershire is a vibrant, beautiful county with so much to offer its residents and businesses. We want to see our county recover and revitalise, and we can all help with that, by continuing to follow the social distancing rules and taking up the offer of testing and vaccination being offered.
“Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do for your community and our county.”
Dr. Kathryn Cobain