Supervisors Terminate Covid-19 Emergency Resolution, Honor Nurses
There is no debating the fact that COVID-19 brought with it more than a public health crisis. In a nutshell, it turned lives upside down. After 26 months of local emergency orders, the board of supervisors, on May 3 voted unanimously to terminate its COVID-19 Local Emergency Resolutions that had been in place since March 17, 2020, marking the beginning of getting back to what could be called a sense of normalcy.
In a very fitting and timely coincidence, the supervisors also proclaimed the month of May as Nurses Month and the week of May 6-12 as Nurses Week. Members of the board of supervisors, the public and county department leaders expressed their personal and professional profound thanks and gratitude to nurses nationwide but specifically to those serving in Mariposa County.
Newly appointed Director of Health & Human Services, Joe Lynch said, “Our nurses carried this county through the last 26 months.” He also shared that over 115,000 nurses nationwide lost their lives in the first 18 months of the pandemic.
Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr. Kristina Allen was thankful for the kind words shared by supervisors, community members, and department leaders during public comment, “thank you for your kind words, they (nurses) really needed to hear this; they have been through so much, there has been a great mental health strain, we owe them an incredible debt of gratitude for their dedication and commitment to the patient through the end-of- life stages, and all the negative criticisms of their profession – they are the true hero’s in the community.”
Mariposa Public Health Nurse Rosalyn Pyle shared how she and others were at patient’s bedside as they passed away when family were not allowed to be with their loved ones, and talked about going through patient’s phones to find favorite songs that could be played during end-of-life circumstances. She went on to describe seeing family members leaning against the building praying near their loved one’s rooms because they could not be with them. She also expressed how she and her fellow co-workers and nurses are “facing a mental health crisis after dealing with so many deaths on an almost daily basis.”
In another timely and fitting coincident, the supervisors proclaimed the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Sydney Forga and Lynn Rumfelt with Mariposa County Health Services provided some statistics related to mental/behavioral health service provided over the last year. Forga stated that 767 individuals in the community were provided services; 15,537 total services were provided overall over the last year. Substance User Disorder Services were 1,946; Mental Health Services were 12,974; Mental Health Prevention/Early Intervention Servies were 1,071; Psychiatric Services were 1,405; and Telehealth Service were 3,572.
Members of the local public health community, department leaders and supervisors expressed thanks to Mariposa’s Behavioral Health Services department for its critical and valuable work. Many also shared how mental health has touched them or their families personally and how behavior health professionals have provided the necessary services to assist in the healing process.
Supervisor Rosemarie Smallcomb shared how mental illness has touched her family and her hope that by publicly acknowledging and bringing to the forefront through Mental Health Awareness Month that we can “reduce the stigma associated with behavioral health issues to encourage individuals to come forward and take advantage of the services that are available, so that we can have that healthier community, with healthier more productive individuals in it.”