The Monday before Thanksgiving is reserved as Public Health Thank You Day. On this day, we express gratitude for our Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS) team and the vital role they play in protecting and improving the health of all people and communities within our county.
“The amount of work they do – it’s tremendous – especially under even the most trying circumstances,” said Olmsted County Administrator Heidi Welsch. “I encourage all to recognize this day by taking time to thank our county’s public health professionals.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the public health workforce. It has brought new gratitude for how public health employees persevere to secure the public's health.
“The results we've had here in Olmsted County are unbelievable because of Public Health's work and effort. Public Health spends countless hours ensuring the health and safety of our community. We appreciate your work, and the community appreciates your work,” said Olmsted County Deputy Administrator Travis Gransee.
Beginning in February 2020, and throughout the COVID-19 response, it was the OCPHS COVID Response Incident Command Team’s mission to provide essential services to residents while keeping them safe throughout the pandemic. The team was successful in its mission as demonstrated by our community’s high vaccination rate and low hospitalization and mortality rates.
The team played an integral role in the following:
- Creation of a joint collaborative COVID-19 collection/testing site.
- Conducting COVID-19 case investigations.
- Holding mass vaccination clinics.
- Mask collection and distribution.
- Continued delivery of essential services to clients.
- Keeping the community informed of important COVID-19 information.
Public Health work extends far beyond COVID response, however. Every day, public health employees work to improve the health of populations. Their profession encompasses everything from researching diseases to preventing injury and promoting healthy lifestyles to detecting and controlling outbreaks. The OCPHS team helps protect us from viruses like COVID-19 and the flu, ensures we have clean water and air, and helps us recover from natural disasters. Besides a myriad of other things, they also teach us how to live healthier lives by informing us about the dangers of smoking and the benefits of nutritious eating practices.