I’ve had the pleasure of working at the Licking County Health Department for 20 years and was humbled to be appointed the county’s Health Commissioner in June of this year. Taking on this role in the middle of a pandemic can be viewed as less than desirable, but it has allowed me to see first-hand how remarkable the staff are at LCHD.
The Monday before Thanksgiving is recognized annually as Public Health Thank You Day by the American Public Health Association. I want to take the time to recognize our public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect the health of all people and all communities – especially this year, while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When a crisis occurs, people’s true colors are shown, and I can attest that the LCHD team is comprised of some of the most dedicated, caring, and talented professionals I have ever worked alongside. We are facing a once-in-100-years pandemic and the staff at LCHD are working seven days a week to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We have 62 employees on staff, and 58 of them are actively involved in COVID-19 response efforts – many while also balancing their regularly assigned public health duties!
Public health workers are often the forgotten soldiers in the war against the pandemic. The public may not realize that our staff can be found working late on Saturday nights to call individuals informing them of their positive test result, then subsequently isolating them to avoid the risk of making others sick. Or that we have employees working early Sunday mornings to conduct contract tracing as quickly as possible and calling close contacts to quarantine. Other staff work quickly to provide necessary documentation so that individuals can get back to work or school with the proper certification. Meanwhile, additional employees work to analyze data and develop reports with accurate information so our residents can have a fully transparent understanding of COVID-19 in our county.
COVID-19 cases in Licking County are rising. In order to slow the spread of the virus in our community, I ask that you do your part in protecting our residents by wearing a facial covering in public, practicing social distancing, staying home if you feel sick, washing hands often, and as an additional measure to prevent illness, get your yearly flu shot. If we all take these preventative measures, we will hopefully see a slow-down in the spread of COVID-19, therefore reducing the workload on our public health professionals.
We often say in public health, our patient is the community. As our staff is diligently working behind the scenes to protect the public’s health, I invite you to join me in thanking them on Public Health Thank You Day. If you know a public health worker, please recognize them for all they do to better our community each and every day.
Chad Brown, RS, MPH, Licking County Health Commissioner
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