Triadelphia, W.Va. (WTRF) – We’ve been through the fear, the uncertainty, the pain, and the relief of declining numbers—now it’s time for some reflection.

WVU Medicine’s Wheeling and Reynolds Memorial Hospitals hosted a COVID Conference for medical professionals who saw its destruction firsthand.

And it wasn’t just nurses and doctors—supply chain experts, local officials and first responders were all part of the conversation.

We tried to represent all the people who were at the table who learned lessons all along the way.

Dr. David Kappel, Deputy Medical Director, West Virginia Office of EMS

Their challenges and their triumphs were all discussed in a day-long seminar at the Highlands Event Center.

They covered statistics and the timeline of the health response in those critical early days.

And they even touched on the nursing fatigue and burnout that was so common.

Dr. Kappel says he sees the the quick rollout of vaccines as one of the biggest accomplishments.

Looking back on it, a lot faster than anybody believed it could happen, so that’s great.

Dr. David Kappel, Deputy Medical Director, West Virginia Office of EMS

As for what didn’t go perfectly — he says communication could have been better both locally and statewide.

The human resources were also a struggle, with the pandemic making the nursing shortage far worse.

He hopes equipment stockpiles can be looked at more closely, since much of it was outdated when it was needed the most.

Even though we don’t need it from one moment to the next, in times like we’ve been through, when we need it we need it.

Dr. David Kappel, Deputy Medical Director, West Virginia Office of EMS

He says just about everyone there is sure of one thing…COVID won’t completely leave our lives for the time being.

So how do we move forward with it?

We can continue the vaccine and booster regimen to make it more manageable, but it also means work outside of the doctor’s office.

We’ll all have to consider the ways the virus reshaped our lives—and learn from them so we can fearlessly face down the next health crisis.

This pandemic was just not a health care issue, this was an issue for all the population in the country.

Dr. David Kappel, Deputy Medical Director, West Virginia Office of EMS