The virtues of Public Health Departments
The Menasha Health Department has been a godsend the past few weeks. No one could have foreseen what is currently happening back in 2011 when a discussion was brought forth to merge or dissolve our department. At that time consultants were recommending that we dissolve our department and place those services and decisions at the county level in two separate counties (Calumet & Winnebago) with vastly different levels of service.
With COVID-19, communities across the country are wrestling with how to track and manage communicable diseases on small budgets. Last weekend's article in the NewYork Times (which can be found here) shows just how acute the problem is across the nation in Public Health.
My recommendation in 2011 was to maintain our Health Department, and I'm glad that we all agreed. Having a local health department in the City of Menasha works for everyone. Our agreements with the Menasha Joint School District provides an efficient more cost effective way to provide these essential services to our community. We would have received fewer services and paid more if we would have consolidated.
Our Public Health Department is taking the lead in the current Public Health Emergency, creating an ICS structure and virtual EOC with city departments and regional partners. We are coordinating with Wisconsin DHS and implementing CDC recommendations. By having a local department we can customize our response to meet the needs of the City of Menasha more specifically, rather than generalize for county-wide needs. We are tracking reports, we will maintain quarantines if and/when they are needed, and working with employees including emergency responders to provide personal protective gear. We are able to provide businesses with guidance as to the best way to protect their employees and the public.
The health department wants to thank the entire community for their cooperation with the Governor's and State Health Department guidelines. This will help lessen the impact to everyone in the community.
You can be assured that all our departments are working together to protect public health and safety during this unprecedented public health emergency.
You can find the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 on the Menasha Health Department page: