As we enter a new year, the Hamilton County Health Department wants to take this time to take a break and reflect on the successes, hardships and losses our community has endured during this pandemic.
Until the end of December 2020, the tools they had to fight this virus were COVID tests, masks, hand washing and social distancing. At the end of 2020, the Ministry of Health learned that it would soon start administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The sense of excitement – that we are finally reaching a turning point in the pandemic – has provided a silver lining in such dark times.
The Department of Health is now set to give a total of 200,000 vaccines to people in Hamilton County, which is more than 42% of the total number given, numbers that seemed so intimidating at first. This important milestone is due to the dedication and commitment of the staff and volunteers of the Ministry of Health, community members coming to be vaccinated and our partners who saw the need of our community and opened their doors to us. .
These partnerships have enabled the Department of Health to safely and efficiently deliver tests and vaccines to residents. There are too many partners to be adequately listed, but they spanned the gamut from local governments and faith-based organizations, to nonprofits and private businesses. They have played a central role in the ability of the Department of Health to respond quickly to this virus and provide the community with the tools necessary to curb its rapid spread.
The past two years have taken a heavy toll on all of us. Nothing about this pandemic has been simple or consistent, other than the fact that it has required all of us to be flexible and adapt to an ever-changing situation, sometimes on a daily basis. From the loss of loved ones to COVID-19, to the connections health department staff made with residents, only to find out they died of COVID days later.
This year has not been easy, but it has proven our determination and tenacity as a community. The Department of Health recognizes the very real losses and expresses its condolences to all who have lost someone to COVID. Each of the 744 deaths from COVID in Hamilton County as well as the 800,000 deaths in the United States is a life gone – a true loss to their friends, family and community.
We all understand that “COVID fatigue” is real and people are tired and ready for a sense of normalcy, but now is not the time to be complacent. Omicron is another reminder that COVID is still very real and continues to spread across the world.
The Department of Health encourages people to meet this holiday season and spend time with loved ones, but as you do, please continue to apply good public health measures like washing your hands, wearing your mask. , test for COVID before you get together, and above all, get vaccinated!