Marion medical, education communities reflect on one year of COVID-19 – Marion Star

Marion Public Health Nursing Director Sarah Nicewaner injects Dale Demorest, 65, of Waldo, with the Moderna vaccine. The agency open its vaccination clinic to the 1C group Thursday at the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabiliies.

Having a career in public health means preparing for worst case scenarios. There’s plans outlined, drills and procedures practiced. 

But for Health Commissioner Traci Kinsler and her employees at Marion Public Health, no one could have predicted how devastating and tumultuous the coronavirus pandemic would be. 

On March 9, 2020, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the first three COVID cases in Ohio, declaring a state of emergency. A few days later, he ordered the closure of all K-12 schools for a then three-week extended spring break.

Gov. Mike DeWine and then-Health DIrector Dr. Amy Acton announced Ohio's first coronavirus cases on March 9. [Randy Ludlow/Dispatch]

By March 20, Marion County saw its first confirmed case when a 66-year-old man tested positive for the virus. Cases quickly ballooned after that, as MPH dealt with outbreaks from the prisons and nursing homes. 

“You would have those moments of disbelief and then they would wash over you and then you would calm down again and get back to work,” Kinsler said. “It was just a roller coaster of emotions.” 

The pandemic also proved to be a roller coaster of