Given that today is Public Health Thank You Day in the U.S., you’d expect me to praise our team at ADHS and the many others who promote healthier and stronger communities in Arizona’s counties, cities, towns, and tribal nations.
And I will do that – briefly. Amid a global pandemic, the professionals in Arizona’s public health workforce confront complex health threats from disease, injury, environmental hazards, and more. In addition to ADHS, these professionals work in local county and tribal health departments, community-based organizations, and academic institutions serving people throughout our state.
Words are inadequate for me to express gratitude for their dedication.
But the thanks I most want to deliver today is to each of you. Public health simply doesn’t exist without the public. Promoting health and wellness in our state requires everyone.
I thank the millions of Arizonans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and encourage everyone 5 and older to stay current by getting the Omicron booster. Vaccination remains the key to our state and nation staying ahead of COVID-19, so please get up-to-date by finding a provider at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine.
I thank those who have received their seasonal influenza vaccination. The flu shot is the best way to prevent severe outcomes from this unpredictable disease.
I thank Arizonans who use weekly Community Levels from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidance on indoor mask use and other recommended precautions when needed. The levels are based on cases and COVID-19’s impact on a county’s health care system. At the moment, levels are high in Navajo and Gila counties, meaning masks are recommended in public indoor settings. They are medium across much of the rest of the state, including Maricopa County, meaning people should consider precautions if they are at high risk for severe illness or are around someone who is at high risk.
I thank everyone who takes simple steps public health recommends to reduce the spread of so many diseases, especially with respiratory virus season at hand: wash hands thoroughly and often, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, stay home if you are sick, and cover coughs and sneezes.
I thank the many Arizonans who engage with Public Health Prevention programs that help end dependence on commercial tobacco products, promote nutrition for women, infants, and children, focus on reducing injuries, drownings, and overdose deaths, and so much more.
Most of all, thank you for your continuing attention to public health challenges that remain with us or will present themselves in the coming months and years. Health and wellness begins with a commitment to your own health and the health of your community, and we appreciate your partnership in this.