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WHEREAS, public health is the practice of preventing disease and promoting good health within groups of people, from small communities to entire countries; and
WHEREAS, since 1908, the Virginia Department of Health has provided public health services to the residents of and visitors to the Commonwealth of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, this year, National Public Health Week occurs the week of April 5-11, in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed extreme challenges to the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia’s public health system; and
WHEREAS, the staff of the Virginia Department of Health have risen to these unprecedented challenges, working tirelessly over the past year to protect their fellow Virginia residents from the spread of COVID-19, taking time away from their families and loved ones to care for others; and
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated disparity in health status due to social determinants that negatively impact health, such as poverty, transportation barriers, and lack of economic opportunity, as well as racial inequities; and
WHEREAS, the promotion of health equity is foundational to the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, in keeping with the 2021 National Public Health Week theme, “Building Bridges to Better Health,” the Virginia Department of Health regularly collaborates with a wide range of public and private sector partners to foster healthy, connected, and resilient communities; and
WHEREAS, the staff of the Virginia Department of Health continues to help communities prevent, prepare for, withstand, and recover from the impact of a full range of health threats in addition to COVID-19, including disease outbreaks, as well as natural disasters and disasters caused by human activity; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Health’s collaborative efforts with individuals, communities, health care providers, and policy makers will help the Commonwealth become the healthiest state in the nation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam hereby proclaim the week of April 5-11, 2021, as NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.