The Green River District Health Department is working hard to protect us in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. These essential workers put their own lives in danger and still do it anyway. It's Thankful Thursday and time to recognize these heroes that hold a special place in our hearts.

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For this Thankful Thursday we put on our masks and gloves to celebrate some of our front line workers. We also learned a lot when we visited the Green River District Health Department to deliver three dozen Maggie's cupcakes to the staff. We know that they're working long hours and sacrificing every single day. The goal is to keep us all safe. Can you imagine the physical toll that this is putting on them? A job where you are reporting statistics all day. And, lately not very good ones.

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There's an invisible amount of employees that report for work to provide the best health care for, and information to, the public. The Green River District Health Department handles all of the positive COVID-19 tests in the seven county district. They have to cross-check to ensure that a person isn't double-counted that tests positive. There's also a LOT of phone calls. They talk to those that have tested positive every day, for fourteen days, and then they start tracing contacts. And, they do this seven days a week. You've also probably seen the daily GRDHD COVID-19 Press Releases that they meticulously put together and share with us each morning. They are on the front line protecting all of us.

"We don't think people realize how exhausting it is. We're working seven days a week, even on the weekends. We're committed to keeping everyone safe. If someone tests positive, we want that person to be called and told immediately. So, the hours we work are needed and vital.", a GRDHD staff member shared.

We also asked about COVID-19 related deaths and how that is determined. We found out that our local health departments don't make that determination. Kentucky actually has a committee that reviews death certificates, on a state level, that determines a cause of death. Green River District Health Department just reports those numbers to the public. We did ask them how hard it is to see the rising numbers, talk to the patients who've tested positive, and report the death toll.

"It's extremely emotional and I don't think people see that piece of what we go through. For example, maybe we are speaking to a husband and wife who have both tested positive. The symptoms may have been mild in the first few days that we speak, but then the disease progressed rapidly. When we call to find out how they're doing the next day, the wife answers, and we learn that her husband had died. There are so many things that people don't realize that we face every day.", shared by a GRDHD team member.

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This is just a small snapshot of what they do each day. Thank you to the staff at the Green River District Health Department for putting our health above your own. For being honest, compassionate, dedicated and for protecting the community. I hope that you enjoyed the cupcakes as a small token of our appreciation.

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Stay safe!

The health department does offer free COVID-19 testing at many different locations.

Practice the three “W’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. It is important to protect yourself and those around you,” said Clay Horton, GRDHD Public Health Director. “This is important in private get together settings with friends and family, when interacting with coworkers, and in social settings like weddings. Keep any gatherings small and outside to reduce the risk of transmission. Leaders of organizations like churches, team coaches, and workplace supervisors are encouraged to lead by example and make wise decisions to protect those for whom you are responsible.”, Clay Horton, Public Health Director, MPH, RS

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