Kent County to lower its flags to honor COVID victims

DOVER — Terry Pepper, Kent County Levy Court vice president, had been searching for a way to memorialize the 157 Kent Countians who have died due to COVID-19.

Terry Pepper

Commissioner Pepper decided one good way to remember those lost over the year due to the coronavirus would be for Kent County to inclusively fly its county flags at half-staff at all facilities starting Thursday and lasting though Dec. 31.

During the Dec. 15 Levy Court meeting, his fellow commissioners agreed with his idea and unanimously voted that all Kent County flags be lowered in honor of those county residents who have lost their lives this year, as a sign of respect to them and a show of sympathy to their families.

“I was looking for some way to memorialize or recognize those in Kent County that have not made it through this pandemic, that got sick, and then, their life ended,” Commissioner Pepper said. “I just wanted to be able to let people in Kent County know that we recognize that, and we want to show some sort of sympathy for those that have passed.

“Since February or March, there have been more than 8,200 people in Kent County who have actually had (COVID-19). I just wanted to do something to let the county know that we are thinking about them and show some kind of sympathy for them and recognize those who lost their lives for no reason.”

As of Tuesday, more than 320,000 Americans have succumbed to COVID-19, including 872 from Delaware. Of those, 157 were Kent Countians.

That number of deceased Kent County residents is greater than the number of county lives lost in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.

“This has been a devastating year for Kent County residents due to the coronavirus. There have been many deaths, causing many empty seats during this year’s holiday celebrations,” Commissioner Pepper said. “Hopefully, over the holidays, we’ll keep the deaths to a minimum and, hopefully, people will not gather in large crowds.

“I know it’s Christmastime, and it’s normal for people to want to get together with their family and loved ones, but just, hopefully, they limit that as much as possible, and sometime near the end of January, we don’t realize how many people didn’t obey the governor’s request and (still) (got) together and spread the COVID.”

The post-summer wave of the coronavirus hit Kent County more harshly than in the spring.

“This year will be remembered as the most deadly year in American history to date,” said Commissioner Pepper. “With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, which started being administered over the weekend, there’s no doubt that once the coronavirus is fully behind us, life will change.

“Whatever that may look like, there’s hope that sometime next year, the coronavirus will be gone forever, just like so much of what used to be.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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