I’ve had the pleasure of working at the Henry County Health Department (HCHD) for six years and was humbled to be appointed the county’s health commissioner earlier this month. 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 HCHD. 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 the HCHD 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 HCHD are working seven days a week to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We have 35 employees on staff and nearly all 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. As COVID-19 cases in Henry County are rising, 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. Further, keep your body strong by prioritizing your overall health by engaging in exercise, eating balanced meals and taking your daily multi-vitamins. If we all take these preventative measures, we will hopefully see a slow down in the spread of all types of germs in our community.

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 for 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!


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