CAPTION FOR ATTACHED PHOTO: The staff of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments don their “I Am Public Health” T-Shirts in celebration of May 11, 2023 designated by the Governor as Illinois Public Health Heroes’ Day. May 11th marks the end of the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration.
The Henry and Stark County Health Department and Henry County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) reminds area residents that on May 11, 2023 the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration ends. Therefore, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health have declared May 11, 2023 as Illinois Public Health Heroes’ Day.
Duane Stevens, Henry and Stark County Health Department Public Health Administrator states, “We should all pause and give heartfelt thanks today, after more than three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, to all those public health and health care heroes who rose to the challenge and risked their own lives to protect the rest of us from the deadly virus. When so many were locking down and staying safe at home, those heroes were on the front lines. They were administering tests, caring for the sick that filled our hospitals, and staffing vaccine clinics that offered us protection from sickness. We owe every one of them a huge debt of gratitude.”
“During the very darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, our public health and health care heroes risked their own lives to care for hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans in hospitals across the state at a time when our ICU wards were being overwhelmed,” adds Governor Pritzker. “And once the life-saving vaccines were developed and made available, thousands of IDPH and local health department heroes as well health care heroes across the state mobilized to deliver more than 26 million, life-saving COVID-19 vaccinations to people in every corner of the state.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Sameer Vohra states, “It is fitting today as we formally end the Public Health Emergency that we pause to reflect on the truly heroic efforts of the thousands of public health workers, including those at IDPH and in our local health departments, as well as the healthcare workers in our hospitals and clinics. Their bravery and fortitude in the face of this overwhelming public health crisis is a gift to cherish and appreciate. As we write the next chapters in the story of public health in Illinois, we look forward to their continued leadership and guidance to help address inequities and promote health throughout our great State.”
Stevens concludes, “This does not mean Covid-19 has disappeared – it is still active in the state causing hospitalizations and deaths every week. Rest assured the Henry & Stark County Health Departments and the Henry County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will stay vigilant and continue to track the impacts of the virus. However, today is a great day and we ask all local residents to join us in celebrating our Health Department and OEM Public Health Heroes!”
Click to watch a special video honoring our Public Health Heroes!