County Council approves resolution thanking health workers

The resolution also recognizes the difficult political environment faced by public health employees

CLARK COUNTY — With the COVID-19 pandemic now dragging on into its eighth month, the Clark County Council on Tuesday took time to pass a resolution supporting and thanking Public Health workers and health care employees. 

“The Clark County Council expresses great appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to our local public health workers and health care workers for their selfless sacrifices and efforts to combat and respond to the unprecedented challenges facing our communities as a result of COVID-19,” reads section one of the two page resolution.

The Clark County Public Health building. File photo
The Clark County Public Health building. File photo

The resolution, which was adopted unanimously, also acknowledges that public health employees have been “routinely subjected to harassment and hostility by members of their communities who do not want to follow the Safe Start Guidelines and local Health Officer’s orders.”

“This has been a long haul. And it’s still continuing,” said Councilor Gary Medvigy after Tuesday’s approval of the resolution. “We’re certainly hopeful, with our data improving, that at some point the governor is going to lift the suspension on moving forward towards phase three.”

On Tuesday, Clark County Public Health said the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Clark County had fallen to 63.05 per 100,000 residents in the 14 days prior to Aug. 31. That’s down from a rate of 71.6 the week before, and 88 cases per 100,000 residents in the two weeks before Aug. 10.

That means Clark County has been in the moderate risk category for school reopenings for two weeks now, though just barely. 

Gov. Jay Inslee has said school districts in counties that remain below 75 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period can begin limited in-person classes. Clark County Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick has said he wants to wait to make sure the county remains in the moderate category for three weeks after the Labor Day weekend before recommending that school districts begin switching to a hybrid model and allowing students to return to buildings.

“Wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing are effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Melnick in a release on Tuesday. “We need to do everything we can to continue to lower the infection rate so kids can safely return to the classroom.”

The resolution approved on Tuesday recognizes the “value and dedication of our local public health workers and health care workers to the viability, economy, safety, security, and well-being in our community, both through their outstanding performance during this pandemic and through their general ongoing work to keep our residents healthy and our communities vibrant and thriving.”

The resolution arose out of several discussions during Council Time meetings, in which council members expressed a desire to find a way of recognizing the immense effort that has gone into addressing the public health concerns presented by the pandemic, and the implementation of orders coming down from the state despite pushback by many in the public.

“The heroic efforts and sacrifices of our local public health workers and health care

workers are deserving of acknowledgment and appreciation,” the proclamation reads. 

The resolution has no impact on the county’s budget.