Public Health Heroes

I can totally get behind the heroism of health care workers, essential workers, educators, etc.  They deserve our thanks and gratitude for their efforts during this pandemic.

The heroes we don’t hear much about are the ones who work in governmental public health, particularly state and local health departments.  In WA, we had the first reported case of COVID 19 in the US on January 22nd.  One month later, WA reported the first COVID 19 death in the US.  I know that many public health leaders and staff have not had a real day off since the end of January.  They have had the thankless tasks of managing scarce resources, advising elected officials on control measures, and dealing with a confused and sometimes hostile public. They need to make sure COVID 19 cases are isolated and that their contacts have the resources necessary to stay quarantined.  This is in the context of confusing and conflicting information from the federal government.  

Many of our public health leaders and staff have had to give their family short shrift and I don’t think they are getting much in the way of thanks for all they are doing every day! 

Here are just a few of those WA leaders I would like to call out as heroes:

Washington State Department of Health –

  • John Wiesman, Secretary
  • Kathy Lofy, Health Officer
  • Scott Lindquist, State Communicable Disease Epidemiologist

Public Health – Seattle and King County –

  • Patty Hayes, Director
  • Jeff Duchin, Health Officer
  • Matias Valenzuela, Equity and Social Justice

Tacoma – Pierce County Health Department –

  • Anthony Chen, Director and Health Officer

These are just a few of our leaders that have been visible to the public for the last six months.  There are a number of staff who have been working long hours behind the scenes to make a difference, including MC, KP, AF, JM, DK, LB, TF, JW, DW, and many more!

I want to thank these public health heroes for all they are doing. I also want to thank the other public health heroes in our communities, people who wear masks, physically distance and wash their hands!

Weekly COVID 19 Data for King County, WA (as of 8/27/20)

  • New positive tests this week – 1,047 (now 19,177)
  • New hospitalizations – 92 (now 2,222)
  • Deaths – 20 this week (now 717)

Next week I will report on our state rates.

Have a good weekend and be a public health hero in your community!



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