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Candlelight vigil at Costa Mesa’s Avenue of the Arts honors Orange County lives lost to COVID-19

O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley's Chief of Staff, Debbie Lumpkin, speaks on her behalf during a public candlelight memorial.
O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley’s Chief of Staff, Debbie Lumpkin speaks on her behalf during a public candlelight memorial.
(Drew A. Kelley)

Residents joined regional elected officials, essential workers and members of the faith community Friday to honor the memories of the nearly 5,100 individuals throughout Orange County who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a candlelight vigil at the lake behind Costa Mesa’s Avenue of the Arts citizens reflected on the lives lost to the coronavirus, as tea lights were lit for each of the 5,095 countywide deaths recorded by the Orange County Health Care Agency Friday.

Dr. Clayton Chau speaks during a public candlelight memorial.
Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, speaks during a public candlelight memorial for the Orange County COVID-19 victims at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa on Friday.
(Drew A. Kelley)

Participants were encouraged to bring photographs, flowers and other mementos to the ceremony, which featured brief remarks from area elected officials and moving musical tributes.

The event took place on the final weekend before California businesses are set to fully reopen Tuesday, after 15 months of restrictions, and statewide rules on mask-wearing continue to ease.

Orange County District 2 Supervisor Katrina Foley said she organized Friday’s vigil after attending a similar remembrance May 19 at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center.

There, employees honored the lives of co-workers who had succumbed to the virus, some after caring for patients with COVID-19.

“[My team and I] were so moved, I said we should look at doing one of these programs for people all over the county,” Foley said.

Members of Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue attend a public candlelight memorial.
Members of Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue attend the candlelight memorial.
(Drew A. Kelley)

“As we move into the June 15 reopening and more of a celebratory mood, I’m worried people get lost and be forgotten,” she continued. “So, I think it’s important for us to pay our respect.”

The battery-powered tea lights are to remain lit throughout the weekend for anyone wishing to visit the memorial and pay tribute on their own.

A public candlelight memorial for the Orange County COVID-19 victims hosted by O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley
A public candlelight memorial is held for the Orange County COVID-19 victims in Costa Mesa on Friday.
(Drew A. Kelley)

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