Thankful in the midst of a pandemic…

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20200402tp grimes, stephenie sslade@greenfieldreporter.com

I have worked for the Madison County Health Department for 24 years, in several capacities.

I think we can all agree life right now is at best, uncomfortable, inconvenient and disconcerting.

For most, life should be staying at home.

For some others, it’s a whirlwind of decisions among uncertainty, rapidly changing information, and facing an unseen enemy that is literally everywhere.

As Madison County’s cases have increased six times over in 72 hours, I am still thankful.

I am thankful for our county partners, stakeholders and staff.

As the coronavirus threat neared, the task force acted. First responders, hospitals, schools, representatives from all sectors of our community, ready to go; whatever it takes.

These are folks with whom I’ve worked for years.

We’ve responded together before.

I trust them. They’re true community servants.

A short three weeks later, to sit (virtually) across the table over WebEx, they are visibly weary and their voices have a hint of defeat as we discuss the quickly dwindling supply of personal protection, a conversation that started weeks prior about conservation of existing stock to alternative practices due to insufficient supplies.

They have grave concerns for their coworkers, families and own safety. Witnessing the toll is sobering. They are worn down, and we haven’t even hit our peak.

I am thankful for every one of them; not just the individuals representing their agencies, but each individual from the agencies they represent.

When it gets worse, and it will, I am thankful they are dedicated.

I am thankful for our county leadership, making the controversial, incredibly unpopular decisions in the name of public health. I’m thankful our elected officials engage and heed the health leadership’s recommendations.

Directing the community to close or amend non-essential businesses, even trying to navigate what’s essential versus non-essential. It honestly became ugly and at the same time, added to the stress and workload.

These declarations support the objective of slowing the virus, setting politics aside for our community. I am thankful for unity of our county leaders.

I could not be more thankful for the Madison County Health Department staff.

They quickly adapted to essential services. They continue to deliver most services with added enforcement duties, provide accurate information, and simply working longer and harder when every choice, response and action has potential cascading outcomes.

It’s mentally exhausting. They work seven days a week. There is little respite. They, too, are dedicated to protecting the public’s health.

I am immensely thankful for MCHD.

I am thankful for all the individuals, families, employees and employers who take this seriously.

Staying at home, working from home, the uncertainty of goods, services and the near future are also taxing.

So for those who are at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, I sincerely thank you.

For the businesses who are risking everything to keep their employees and the public as well as can be, I’m grateful.

For the businesses who worked with us to develop strategies, I applaud you.

For everyone who thinks this doesn’t apply to you, insistent life operate normally, shame on you.

You haven’t seen the faces of those who work to keep us safe day in and day out. You have no idea the magnitude of the irresponsibility of your actions.

For every day we as a community choose not to comply, it is that much longer we live in flux, that much longer our cases will climb, which many more will get sick and die.

There will be much more of a potential chance for COVID-19 to adapt and resurface with more virulence.

While I am angry at those of you who refuse to do your part, I am thankful the virus hasn’t made you or your loved ones, sick.

I am beyond thankful for uplifting support. I am thankful for conversations which result in understanding. I am thankful for the opportunity for community.

In the midst of a pandemic, I am still thankful.