Rick Horton, 66, father of six, grandfather of 12, with members of his family outside Peconic Bay Medical Center April 15. Photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead Town officials will dedicate a memorial tree and monument to local victims of COVID-19 on Monday.

The town will declare the first Monday of March each year as “COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said in a press release.

Town officials will hold a ceremony Monday at 11 a.m. to place a memorial tree and monument outside Riverhead Town Hall.

“This permanent tribute will serve as a reminder to honor those who have lost their lives and to acknowledge the individuals and families who continue to suffer from the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 virus,” according to a press release issued by the supervisors office.

Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New York State. As of Tuesday, there were 1,597,774 confirmed cases in the state. Suffolk County has confirmed 159,571 cases. There were 2,975 confirmed cases in Riverhead Town as of Tuesday, according to data published by the county. Researchers say there are likely four to five undiagnosed cases for every confirmed case.

Infected people can remain asymptomatic or experience symptoms that run the gamut from mild to severe and life-threatening. More than 38,000 New Yorkers have died from complications of the disease, including 3,049 Suffolk residents, according to the State Department of Health.

“COVID-19 has devastated so many families in the Riverhead community, whether they have suffered the loss of a loved one, or continue to feel the effects of the virus,” Aguiar said in the press release. “This memorial will remind our residents they are not alone. We stand with them, and support them during their time of grief and recovery.”

Representatives of Peconic Bay Medical Center and leaders from the faith community will join officials for the ceremony, the supervisor said.

The memorial tree was donated by Case’s Creek Nursery and Masonry and the monument was donated by Rothwell Monuments, according to the release.

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