Department director Amy Thoreson wrote that the 2021 fiscal year will “certainly be one of the most memorable of my professional career. I could not be prouder of the team that I work with every day and grateful for the support of community partners, that we now know more than perhaps any of us would like, as we have continued to promote, protect, and preserve the public health of Scott County during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It’s only by working together – with QC community partners and residents – that “we have been able to weather this never-ending pandemic storm, and the actual storm that tore through the area in August 2020,” Thoreson wrote. “I hope that this annual report gives you a glimpse into what it was like to be working in a public health department during a pandemic.”
The report addresses the contact tracing cases of COVID-19 which included interviewing positive cases, reaching out to individuals that had been exposed, and working with businesses, child-care providers, and schools to navigate the timeline for someone to stay home.
You will find stories of how health department staff and Scott County Jail staff implemented a screening and quarantine process designed to prevent an outbreak of COVID from occurring within the jail’s inmates and staff. You will learn about the work to educate the community on all things COVID, managing differences between two states and counties.
“A significant portion of time this last fiscal year was spent focused on COVID-19 vaccine,” the report says. “Some of you may have received your vaccination at the joint clinic we hosted at the former Sears department store at Northpark Mall.”
Thoreson wrote that the clinic was a true collaboration and would not have been possible without the assistance of Scott County Emergency Management, Bettendorf Fire, Community Health Care, Genesis Health System, MEDIC EMS, UnityPoint Health Trinity, Scott County Community Emergency Response Team, Scott County Facility and Support Services, and Scott County Information Technology.
“Others of you may have received your vaccine at a health care provider’s office. We worked closely with health care providers to get them vaccine as quickly as supply allowed,” she wrote. “We are appreciative of the role that the Center for Active Seniors, Inc. (CASI) played in assisting community members make appointments at health care providers when technology challenges provided barriers.
“We are also thankful for the pharmacy partners that vaccinated residents and staff at long-term care facilities,” Thoreson wrote. “We continue to manage the vaccine supply coming into our community, assure providers have what they need, and offer vaccine at community locations and within our daily operations.
“Throughout this response, we have learned a lot, especially about flexibility and change,” she said. “There are times when our plans went better than they expected. There were times when plans went wrong. We are capturing the good and the not so good and looking for ways to incorporate the good into our plans and fix the not so good for next time.”
The report notes that Roma Taylor, Clinical Services Manager, retired after almost 42 years with the department and delaying her retirement twice. Ann Jepson, the lead communicable disease nurse, retired after 15 years; Pam Gealy, the lead administrative staff member for childhood immunizations, retired after 30 years, and past director Edward Rivers retired after 10 years.
“Our department and community is forever better because of the mark that each of these colleagues made,” Thoreson wrote. “As we look to the future, I am grateful to have been selected to be the next Director of the Scott County Health Department. I have been with the department in various roles for over 20 years.
“It is my privilege to be able to serve the community I call home in this role. We have tremendous challenges and opportunities ahead and a wonderful team within the department and in community partners to respond to them,” she wrote.
You can see the full report HERE.