OWENSBORO, Ky (WEHT) – There’s a time and a season for everything, a time to celebrate and a time to mourn. On Friday, leaders in Owensboro did a little both as Owensboro Health announced that there were no COVID-19 positive patients in any of their hospitals for the first time since March 13, 2020.

The post on Owensboro Health’s Facebook page thanked each team member for their willingness to adapt and their resolve to heal the community through unprecedented times. Owensboro Health marketing director Brian Hamby says this is a critical moment for patients, their families, and their personnel- a moment they’ve waited years for.

Daviess County Judge Executive Al Mattingly says it’s a milestone for western Kentucky, referencing how many people were out in restaurants and along the riverfront on a warm Friday night in downtown Owensboro.

Still, Judge Executive Mattingly was among the crowd on the Fiscal Court lawn to honor workers who died on the job, including those who died of COVID.

Donna Haynes with the Owensboro Council of Labor says the remembrance- complete with an invocation, gun salute, bellringing, and playing of Taps, the Star Spangled Banner, and Amazing Grace- is a time to hold people accountable for unsafe working environments, including workplaces where COVID spread.

But even with Owensboro Health announcing no COVID patients, Mattingly says this is not a time for people to let their guards down. Mattingly urged people to get vaccinated, saying he and his wife recently received booster doses. Mattingly also criticized social media theories that he called “absolutely stupid and ludicrous,” adding that “rays” aren’t appearing from his ears, magnets cannot stick to his body, and that young, vaccinated people can still have children.

Earlier this month, only two cases were reported at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. While Ascension Saint Vincent could not confirm how many COVID-19 cases they have, Deaconess says they have 11 patients with COVID-19.