Lack of support for DCHD is astonishing

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Dear editor

The year has been frustrating, tiring and disheartening for public health. You care about the community, committed to the work you do and societal role you are given. You feel a duty to serve, and yet it’s really hard in the current environment.

Dawson County has suffered the effects of the current climate as well as Cascade, Pondera, Teton and Roosevelt Counties. Counties closer to home also include Fallon and Carter Counties. There are more of course but these, have lost Department Heads and other staff due to lack of support and being undermined by County Commissioners and Boards of Health. It’s a huge loss of knowledge and experience that will probably be felt for generations to come.

Amid a fractured federal response, the usually invisible army of workers charged with preventing the spread of infectious diseases has become a public punching bag. Their expertise on how to fight the coronavirus is often disregarded. Vilified, threatened with violence and in some cases suffering from burnout, dozens of state and local public health workers around the U.S. have resigned. People have shown their true colors in this community, good and bad.

The Dawson County Health Department team has worked tirelessly day, night, weekends for well over a year to educate and protect this community. The lack of support is astonishing. On my way out the door, at least I know I’ve done everything I can to attempt to protect the people.

Naome Wright

Glendive