The only other recent national or global story that got so deeply into the local news cycle as to warrant our annual list was the 2009 economic recession. And even that story pale in comparison to the effects who have had COVID-19 on people who live and work in the Cayuga County area.
The first locally targeted COVID-19 story published by The Citizen came out on March 4th. Robert Harding, who would write more than 600 pandemic-related stories during the year, shared how the Auburn Community Hospital and Cayuga County Health Department prepared and monitored when confirmed cases would arrive.
As history shot across the state and nation, life in Cayuga County was soon changed. Schools and businesses closed in mid-March, the first locally confirmed case was announced on March 18, more cases were reported a few weeks later, and the first death from COVID-19 in Cayuga County was announced in April.
In the months that followed, the county would see a gradual economic reopening as the number of cases stabilized and New York's gradual and regionalized approach to lifting restrictions came into effect. The children returned to school in the fall despite having extensive safety protocols and a range of models.
Nyella King, right, gets a high-five from Sister Jolene Crehan after wiping her nose during a free rapid COVID-19 asymptomatic test clinic at Emerson Park Pavilion in Owasco, NY on December 10, 2020.
But when the summer was over, case numbers in Cayuga County began to rise again, reflecting a trend across much of the state and across the country. As of the middle of last week, more than 3,500 Cayuga County's residents were either in isolation from a confirmed coronavirus or in mandatory quarantine for facing a confirmed case.
At the end of 2020, the greatest story will surely dominate next year as well.