State sets May 3 memorial ceremony for COVID dead

Betsy PriceGovernment, Headlines

A memorial tree and plaque will be unveiled during a Delaware COVID-19 memorial ceremony. Photo by Pascal Muller/Unsplash


The state will hold a memorial ceremony May 3 to remember the Delaware parents, siblings, children and friends  and those who have died so far because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those whose lives have been affected by those losses.

It will take place at 1 p.m. at the Jesse Cooper Building at  417 Federal St., Dover.

During the ceremony, which will feature a slew of state officials, a memorial tree and plaque will be unveiled. The Yellow Heart Memorial, a nonprofit that offers an online space to remember loved ones, will provide hearts for people to fill out for lost family members.

“My dad was 1 of 2,896 Delawareans and almost 1 million Americans who needlessly lost their lives to Covid,” said Charonda Johnson, strategic partnerships manager, for COVID Survivors for Change. “I’m honored to partner with Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, the Delaware Division of Public Health, and the Yellow Heart Memorial as we remember those who still suffer from the long-term impacts of COVID and those who have died.

“It’s critical for us to rebuild our community through empathy and work to ensure that the deaths of our loved ones were not in vain.”

Government officials who will attend the ceremony include Gov. John Carney; Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long; Molly Magarik, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services; and Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health

“As a nurse who joined many of our courageous health care workers to test and vaccinate Delawareans during the pandemic, I was able to witness firsthand the impact that COVID-19 had on our families across the state,”  said Hall-Long. “Many of our friends and neighbors have suffered a tremendous loss – their loved ones. Many are still suffering from the effects of surviving COVID-19 as well. I look forward to this opportunity to join, thank and honor all of these individuals and the public health and health care workers who continue to save lives and give us hope.”

The pandemic not only affected families, but also healthcare workers, said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health.

 “Our state’s public health and health care workforce worked tirelessly around the clock to help test, distribute information, vaccinate, educate, and provide care to all Delawareans,” she said, ” and they are still working to ensure that Delawareans are safe and well despite the health crisis, often sacrificing their own mental health and well-being in the process. I hope this ceremony will be the start of healing for many.”

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