We the undersigned are writing in support of Dr. Michael Collins, the medical director of the Grand Traverse County Health Department, and his concern for the recent Grand Traverse County commissioners’ resolution to disenfranchise our community health department.
We also write in support of the Health Department of Northwest Michigan and the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department in their efforts to help our community during the COVID pandemic.
Using our health departments as a political tool and thus limiting local experts in public health during a pandemic is dangerous and will result in morbidity and mortality in our community.
While we all are weary, we need to continue to rely on our community experts and address the pandemic with the latest science and evidence-based practices.
Therefore, local physicians have collaborated across specialties, practices and with other resources, such as the superintendents of our schools over the past 18-plus months to continue to support our community.
Our local health department officials are expertly trained and educated in public health policy; it is their exact job description to help communities manage health crises like the one we are currently enduring.
The counties surrounding Grand Traverse have policy coming directly from their health departments and medical professionals based on the up-to-date numbers and science, while Grand Traverse County is being held hostage by a commission of non-medical politicians, out of their lane and unaware of the fragility of our current medical system.
There are patients unable to get medical care for strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure because hospitals are full of unvaccinated COVID patients utilizing finite resources.
For the system to continue to work the way it should, decisions need to be made by health departments who are trained to make them and not by local politicians.
About the authors: Pediatricians from Kids Creek Children’s Clinic, Grand Traverse Children’s Clinic and Traverse Area Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic; internal medicine/pediatric hospitalists of Sound Physicians; and Munson Healthcare Infectious Disease Consultant Chris Ledtke.