Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

Op-Ed: We Support Public Health


October 22, 2020

We support Lewis and Clark Public Health, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and all the health providers working so hard during this pandemic. They need our support and they need your support.

As elected officials, we come from different backgrounds. We have different political beliefs and don’t always agree. But, in this difficult time, in the middle of this pandemic, we do agree we must unite.

This is not political. Public Health is what we do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy. Public Health has many tasks, one being to prevent epidemics and the spread of disease. State and local health departments retain the primary responsibility for public health. The role of federal public health is to ensure all levels of government have the capabilities to provide essential public health services.

We’ve all heard the messages by now, but again ask for people to physical distance, wear a mask, avoid large gatherings and wash your hands. Our COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Montana; not because these things aren’t effective, but because we’re struggling to do them collectively. We hope this will start to change.

Another request we have is for people to stay home when they are sick and/or have tested positive for COVID-19 and for employers to require sick employees to stay home. It sounds simple, but it can potentially prevent an outbreak. As we have seen time and again, outbreaks can shut down schools and businesses. A healthy public makes for a healthy economy.

Other things that will help include: being tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19, answering and returning calls from contact tracers, and following quarantine instructions!

We are at a pivotal juncture in the fight against COVID-19. The numbers are rising in Montana and cold and flu season is at our doorstep. We implore you to follow the CDC, state and local health guidelines, to keep each other safe.

This may be uncomfortable and we may not always like it. We don’t have to. But what if by doing it, unnecessary suffering is prevented and a life is saved?

We call on all of you to unite where we are divided. To set aside political beliefs and help your neighbor. We are strongest when we work together and the sooner we do, the faster we will be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel.

Listening to various public health agencies on how to protect your family, friends, neighbors, medical personnel, teachers, first responders, veterans, the elderly and all working the front lines is patriotic. By cooperatively working together, we can move the needle on the challenges facing our community.

Lewis and Clark County:

Commissioners Andy Hunthausen, Susan Good Geise, Jim McCormick

Treasurer/Clerk and Recorder Amy Reeves

Clerk of Court Angie Sparks

Attorney Leo Gallagher

Superintendent of Schools Katrina Chaney

City of Helena:

City Commissioners Emily Dean, Heather O’Loughlin, Andres Haladay

Mayor Wilmot Collins

City of East Helena:

Council members Don Dahl, Wesley Feist, Kelly Harris, Judy Leland

Mayor James Schell


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