PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - More than half a million Americans have died of COVID-19.
Monday night Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland rang their peace bell 500 times in honor of those lives lost.
"The bell is very symbolic of the whole community to know that we grieve these losses together, no one is left out," Rev. Dr. W.J. Mark Knutson said.
Alicia Parker lost her 73 year old father Richard Parker to COVID-19 last April.
"I saw him the last time a month before his death and I introduced him to his first grandchild my little girl Emma and at that time he had dementia," Alicia said. "He wasn’t able to say much but he was able to say I love you which was so special."
She said nearly a year after her father’s death, she still hasn’t been able to have a funeral for him and that in this time of isolation, death has been an isolating experience too.
"I'm trying to keep his memory alive, keep thinking about him, keep sharing stories, that’s the way that I'm processing my grief," she said.
But in the sadness, some progress and some hope.
Oregon's daily case counts have been on a downward trend the past couple months.
The Oregon Health Authority shared two modeling projections Friday, saying that if the state holds at an expected reproductive rate of 0.88, then between February 24 and March 9, Oregon can expect a further decline in daily cases to an estimated 320 and a decrease in daily hospitalizations to 10.
But state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger warned if a more contagious variant becomes dominant or we become less vigilant with reduced county risk levels, and the transmission rate climbs above 1, daily cases could increase to 510 with 17 daily hospitalizations.