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Ochsner LSU Health Monroe reflects on one year of COVID-19 in Louisiana



MONROE, La. – The one year mark since the first COVID-19 case in Louisiana was a somber day for many in healthcare.

Ochsner LSU Health Monroe observed a moment of silence Tuesday morning to honor those we have lost, but also to commemorate their staff who have fought on the front lines.

In Louisiana, over 40,000 people recovered from the virus but over 9,700 lives were lost.

It was a year where fear was spreading and healthcare workers stepped up.

Registered nurse, Daryl Armstrong, was moved to the COVID-19 unit early in the pandemic.

As he looks back on the year, he says those early days made him appreciate how far we’ve come and where we are now.

So many more victories over the virus.

“Now we kind of know what to expect, you know, how to prevent the disease. We know that masks work. We know that hand washing works. We know all of those things. Now, there are treatments that have come out that have dramatically help the mortality of these patients and help more patients survive and give well and go home from the hospital. That really provides the hope that we needed that we didn’t have 365 years ago in that huge period of uncertainty that we had.” Armstrong said.

He’s tended to thousands of patients in the last year, but he’ll never forget the first one he lost to the virus.

“I remember that patient very, very clearly. I remember watching that process extremely clearly, in my mind, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that patient ever,” Armstrong said. “I remember his story. I remember what he looked like. And it was tough..”

The hardest part, he says, were the goodbyes that patients and their families said over cellphones and iPads.

“As anxious as we were, you know, taking care of the patient I kind of had to just think, okay, what’s the family thinking right now? It was hard,” Armstrong said.

The collective message was clear in that this battle is far from over.

The same virus that took the first life a year ago is still taking lives today.

Health officials still recommend wearing your mask, keep a social distance and, when it’s your turn, getting the vaccine.