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Message From The Director

GIVING THANKS



Anna M. Roth RN, MS, MPH

On the surface, it doesn't seem like there's much to be thankful for in 2020. The COVID pandemic has caused unprecedented death and suffering. It ushered in a recession that leaves millions unemployed or financially insecure. As a nation, we are only beginning to honestly face the ugly realities of systemic racism and social injustice. And just last week we finished the worst wildfire season in California's history.

But these same challenges cast a spotlight on those who truly merit thanks--the thousands of essential workers and Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) employees who have been on the frontline to defend us from the disease and disasters that characterized 2020. There's no better time than this Thanksgiving holiday to let all of you know how appreciative I am of your quiet and tireless heroism.

The work that CCHS, our partners and local municipalities undertook this year to safeguard the people of Contra Costa County is nothing short of amazing. It has been an honor to work alongside each of you as you tackled overwhelming, trying and emotionally draining work. For the last ten months, under enormous pressure and even opposition, you've never wavered. I am humbled by your commitment, passion and sensitivity.

As frontline and essential workers, you gave (and continue to give) unselfishly of your time, talent and compassion. You offered care and comfort, food and shelter, and protection and assistance to those in need. You met anxiety and fear with compassion and understanding. And you provided desperately needed stability in a constantly changing environment.

As healthcare professionals at our clinics, hospitals and testing sites, your smile shined through masks and layers of PPE to reassure an anxious and frightened community. Under the toughest of conditions and with the constant threat of a growing pandemic, you left the security of your homes to treat our sick, battle the epidemic and keep us safe.

As CCHS staff and our partners across the community, often working in isolation from makeshift offices in kitchens and living rooms, you kept all the pieces together. You made sure things continued to move forward, obstacles were overcome and novel new approaches were introduced to protect and support our community. Weekends and vacations were sacrificed without question or complaint.

And somehow, as essential workers acting in every part of the county, you picked up new and emerging pandemic duties while simultaneously carrying out your regular job responsibilities. Your capacity to adapt and multitask has made all the difference here in Contra Costa County.

I am truly humbled to work in the company of so many heroes. To each and every one of you, your deeds, big and small, do not go unnoticed. I know that you've stepped up and continue to step up with courage and compassion. I see you. I'm here for you, and I'm truly grateful for you. You have given so many of us reasons to be thankful.

Since I expect there's many others who, like me, would like to share their gratitude, Contra Costa Health Services has created a “Gratitude Portal” where anyone can share words of thanks to our frontline and essential workers. It's a small way of showing our thanks during this special season. You can post your comments here.

Wishing you all safety, health and wellness.

Anna M.Roth RN, MS, MPH
Health Director, Contra Costa County