As coordinator for Shiawassee County, I read with great interest Representative Ben Frederick’s editorial proposing that we move toward more county-specific management of the COVID-19 pandemic led by our county should strict benchmarks related to infection, hospitalization, testing, and more be met. I agree with this approach as we have now mercifully moved beyond emergency conditions experienced this spring to a status of ongoing response management, which is well suited to our local frontline entities taking on an even more central role.
Those who are concerned about the ability of our frontline entities should remember that we have already seen the Shiawassee Emergency Management team, Memorial Healthcare, and our county public health department do amazing work in the most difficult of conditions we faced during the early weeks of this crisis. With all that we have learned over the last seven months and our incredible strides with partnerships, testing and healthcare capacity it is time that our county’s strategy is based more upon the science and data realities unique to Shiawassee County and the expertise we have right here.
I also appreciate that Rep. Frederick’s approach comes with transparency and treats people like adults who can be part of the solution. Quite simply, the data for our county would continue to be fully public and need to reflect responsible and safe behavior or all state mandates would come right back. That’s a powerful motivator combined with engaged local partners helping to get out the word about how we are doing as a county. We have never up to this point been given a full picture of the data which informs decisions and that has led to great uncertainty and depression in our citizens.
Uncertainty is often overlooked but is a driver of much of the problems we have been seeing rippling out into the community this year. People need certainty and they need hope. I have had reports of sharp increase related to domestic violence, many incidents of attempted suicide or actual loss of life, depression and general conditions of stress. With our local health agencies empowered to set our
strategy through science-based best practices under a unified county strategy, we can finally bring that certainty to people about what is coming next, why and what the plan is moving forward. Through a county-centered approach we can more readily apply the protocols necessary for this area rather than having our interventions be determined by the situation in over 50 other counties.
I appreciate Rep. Frederick’s willingness to share his plan and push for its adoption. It’s time to show what our communities and people can do when given the chance.
Dr. Brian Boggs, Durand