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New Rochelle Marks One Year Since First Case Of COVID-19 Was Confirmed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- It's been one year since one of the first cases of the coronavirus was confirmed in the Tri-State Area.

It was an attorney in Westchester County. After he attended a wedding and a funeral, cases started to spread and a containment zone was put in place in New Rochelle.

Through fear and grief, though, the community came together and moved forward stronger.

In New Rochelle on Wednesday, many of the names of those lost to COVID-19 were included on ribbons of remembrance in a memorial inside a glass case. Steps away from it, there was a gathering to mark one year since the first case was identified.

FLASHBACK (3/3/2020): Coronavirus Update: Westchester County Man In Serious Condition; Synagogue, Schools Closed As Precaution

It was Lawrence Garbuz, a lawyer who survived his battle with the virus, but more than 2,000 others in Westchester County did not.

"It's a proper time to stop and to consider the path we have taken so far and to find new resolve for the path that's ahead of us yet," Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.

There was live music at the commemoration and interfaith prayers.

"That we pray for everyone that Almighty God give them patience to deal this grief," said Imam Shaffieq Chace, of the Westchester Muslim Center.

"There is so much comfort from standing together today in community," said Rabbi Annie Tucker, of the Temple Israel Center in White Plains.

"So I had the experience of saying these prayers over the grave of a man who had just died from COVID. I was on one side of the grave, and the funeral home director was on the other side and he was holding up a camera to live stream those prayers to the family members who were watching from afar," said Father Luke Hoyt, pastor at Holy Innocents Parish Pleasantville.


Part of Westchester's remembering included shout-outs to the people of New Rochelle.

"It was a really hard time for the people of New Rochelle 'cause it had a magnifying glass placed upon it," said Ken Jenkins, Deputy Westchester County Executive.

In New Rochelle, a one-mile radius of a neighborhood became a containment zone, and it was there that mass testing started.

FLASHBACK (3/10/2020): Cuomo Announces 1-Mile 'Containment Area' In New Rochelle, Closes Large Gathering Places There For 2 Weeks

"For a very long time, New Rochelle, because we were testing there first, had the most number of cases," Jenkins said.

Elbea Fuentes, in her New Rochelle neighborhood, had CBS2's Dave Carlin talk to her 10-year-old daughter, Yazmen, who's happily back in school and has never felt more "New Ro Strong."

"If we work together, we can stop the spread," Yazmen said.

Across Westchester, flags are at half staff at all county facilities, to honor those we've lost, and Latimer led applause for health care workers at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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