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Polk County remembers those lost 1 year after first resident died from COVID

Community leaders held a candlelight vigil at the Polk County Administration Building one year after the first resident died from COVID-19.

DES MOINES, Iowa — It's been one year since the first Polk County resident died from conditions related to COVID-19. 

To mark the somber milestone, 589 candles were placed and lit along the front of the Polk County Administration Building. 

One candle for every Polk County resident who died because of this pandemic.

Thursday night's vigil honored those who died from the virus as well as those who've put their lives on the line to keep the community safe during the troubling times. 

"Each one of these candles represents a life that is no longer with us as a result of this pandemic," said Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly. "These candles represent the school employee who will never see or hug her students again. These candles represent the wife who lost her husband after sixty years of marriage. They represent the uncle who used to dress up like Superman to surprise his nephew on his birthday. Each life has its own story and for that reason, we wanted to recognize all that we have lost in the last twelve months."

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the event was only open to members of the media. 

As of Thursday evening, 54,610 residents in Polk County have tested positive for the virus, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

The state's website currently says only 581 Polk County residents have died due to the virus. This data is different most likely due to the lag in data reporting from county to state. 

Watch 'Those we have lost | COVID Cause & Effect, Ep. 3' on Local 5's YouTube channel