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COVID-19 one year later in Laredo

It was on this day that many of our lives changed and while people are tired of hearing about it, it’s now time to reflect on what has happened.
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 11:04 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Eight-hundred and eleven: that’s how many friends, family, and neighbors COVID-19 has claimed in the year since the pandemic came to the gateway city.

Through these trying 365 days, we’ve seen tragedy, but also seen the triumph of the human will as people came together to get through all of this.

It’s an anniversary we are sure no one is very happy to reach, one year of living in a pandemic.

It was on this day that many of our lives changed and while people are tired of hearing about it, it’s now time to reflect on what has happened.

KGNS reported the first COVID-19 case on March 16th.

On that day the City of Laredo, through a press release shared that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first patient and said the individual was experiencing mild symptoms, had reportedly not traveled to any affected areas, and was considered a community transmission.

On that same day, United ISD confirmed that the first COVID patient was an employee at Zaffirini Elementary and was working at the school on the days leading up to spring break.

Only two weeks after that did the situation take a tragic turn.

March 29th: a COVID-19 related death was reported.

According to officials a 70-year-old woman passed away at Laredo Medical Center.

She reportedly had a health condition labeled as chronic pulmonary and was in the hospital for a week under intensive care.

Just two days after the first death, the Laredo city council voted to enforce face masks and fine residents $1,000 for not doing so.

Laredo was the first community in the United States to require that face coverings be worn.

It was also at the end of March that the city received the first batch of coronavirus rapid test kits...And as history shows that didn’t go very well.

On April 2nd, the City of Laredo Health Department found that the test kit results were below the reliable range.

While COVID tests were hard to come by back then, now you can get an appointment with Curative any day of the week.

In late March, the International Bridges in downtown Laredo were closed to non-essential travelers and remains that way as of now.

It wasn’t until the new year hit that vaccine allocations started coming into Laredo.

While the vaccination of the entire community isn’t close to being complete, it’s a far cry from where we were a year ago.

In Tuesday’s media briefing, another element in this pandemic that is also seeing an anniversary, officials including the Laredo health authority Doctor Victor Trevino and Mayor Pete Saenz reflected on the overwhelming year.

”Everyone on this briefing and those in the beginning, Chief Landin, Chief Elizondo, the city council, the mayor, the judge, the city manager and all that have had sleepless nights even through the governor or attorney general did not approve our quarantine measures we did what we had to do,” said Doctor Trevino. “What was medically necessary to save lives in our community.”

”I’m grateful to everyone,” said Mayor Pete Saenz. “The public in particular especially those who followed the guidelines and brought us to this point but I’m proud being a mayor of a people that stood strong and courageous and went through so much, thank you.”

While the CDC may have confirmed the first case on March 16th, Doctor Trevino says it would be dismissive not to remember the other people who showed symptoms but hadn’t been tested.

During the media briefings, officials once again expressed their condolences to the hundreds of families who lost loved ones to the virus.

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