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Sacramento Honors Covid Victims One Year After Stay At Home Orders

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, joined by volunteers and county workers, created a showcase of luminaries to honor those who died this last year due to covid-19. They released a video showing the creation of a candle-lit memorial commemorating the 1,565 people in Sacramento County who have died of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. The release marks one-year since Sacramento County issued its first stay-at-home order on March 19, 2020. 

The memorial, created Wednesday night, featured a candle-lit lantern for every person lost. The bags were filled with sand and lit by a group of City staff and volunteers, including Mayor Steinberg. Sacramento artist Shira Lane, founder of the Atrium co-working art and community space in Old Sacramento, shot pictures and video. City of Sacramento building inspector James Gill piloted his drone to capture the memorial from above. Carlos Eliason, a creative specialist with the City, edited the footage. 

“We didn’t know then how profoundly the pandemic would affect us, and how it would still be affecting us a year later,” Mayor Steinberg said in his narration of the time-lapse video. “As mayor of Sacramento, I want to extend my sympathies to all of the people who have lost family members and friends, and to the communities affected by their loss. We also acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of the front line workers who have borne the brunt of this pandemic in hospitals and nursing homes, grocery stores, farm fields and food service. We also honor the sacrifices of the business owners who have lost income, the workers who have lost their jobs, and the parents who have struggled to balance work with the demands of childcare and distance learning. It is thanks to the diligent efforts of so many people who have sacrificed so much this year that the candles we light today haven’t multiplied faster.”

The memorial included candles for all who died in both the City and Sacramento County, whose Public Health Department has overseen the effort to test and vaccinate residents. As of March 18, the department reported that 349,960 people in Sacramento County had received at least one shot; 115,066 were fully vaccinated. Recent vaccination clinics have focused on getting shots to people in disadvantaged neighborhoods and essential workers. 

“Never did I think I’d announce to the 1.5 million people of Sacramento County that we all needed to do our part and stay home” said Supervisor Phil Serna, who served as Chair of the Board of Supervisors in 2020. “Today marks one year since we issued that health order, and we should reflect on both the courageous lives lost, but also all those who’ve been saved because our community listened and acted as each other’s keeper.” 

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