Tidelands Health to mark anniversary of first COVID-19 case with luminary observance

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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) – Tidelands Health will mark the first anniversary of the health system’s initial COVID-19 case with a luminary observance.

Called “Lights to Remember, Hope for Tomorrow,” the luminary observance will take place March 16 and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to the virus, offer thanks for those who have recovered, honor the area’s frontline healthcare workers, and celebrate the COVID-19 vaccine, a press release stated.

More than 700 luminaries – each representing a life lost to COVID-19 in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties – will be displayed at four Tidelands Health locations March 16 at 7 p.m.

Luminaries will shine outside Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital, Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach and Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital at Little River, an affiliate of Encompass Health, the release stated. Each location will display more than 700 luminaries.

“This observance will be a moment of remembrance for all the lives lost to COVID-19 in our region and a testament to the perseverance of our health care providers and community,” said Gayle Resetar, the health system’s chief operating officer. “As we pause on March 16 to remember all we’ve lost, we also know our hope for the future can shine brightly as vaccine distribution continues. Better days are ahead.”

Tidelands Health officials said that in order to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, there will be no public gathering March 16, but there are several ways for community residents, businesses, schools, churches and organizations to participate in the observance:

· Turn on your exterior lights the evening of March 16. Honor those lost to COVID-19 by turning on the exterior lights at your home, business, church or organization March 16 at 7 p.m.

· Write a luminary message. Community members are encouraged to submit a message of remembrance, hope, resilience or compassion at tidelandshealth.org/lights/. Submitted messages may be displayed on a luminary bag. Deadline to submit a luminary message is March 9 at 5 p.m.

· Post on social media. Community members, businesses and organizations can download and print a “Lights to Remember, Hope for Tomorrow” sign at tidelandshealth.org to post in their window or hold up for a photo and share on social media with the hashtag #LightstoRemember.

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