Dr. Cannata commends Pratt local health heroes for their dedication

Courtney Blankenship
Pratt Tribune
Pratt County Health Officer Gene Cannata, MD., is proud of the commitment Pratt health workers have shown thus far into the COVID-19 pandemic.

From travel restrictions and economic shutdowns to nasal tests and remote learning, this year has challenged communities in new ways. It has been nearly a year since COVID-19 first emerged as a global threat, but as 2021 approaches and Pratt medical professionals work to contain the virus, people are urged to continue following CDC and public health official guidelines.

Gene Cannata MD, Family Physician at Pratt Family Practice and Medical Director at Pratt County Health Department, said he has been very impressed with the commitment of health care workers fighting the virus, despite the ‘real risk to themselves and their families, as well as the highly publicized deaths of some of their peers around the nation.’

“They show up, perform their role to the best of their knowledge and abilities, and come back the next day for more of the same,” Cannata said. “It’s hard to fight an invisible enemy and come away with any sense of success, but they keep at it. This is particularly true of those working with our most vulnerable in nursing homes.”

Though he is ‘heartened by the words of encouragement and prayers’ he hears from the community every day, Cannata said it is difficult for him to see people in public who are not abiding by health safety precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing.

“It’s ludicrous to think I might get Covid from an exposure out in public, particularly when I see Covid patients every day in the office and at the hospital and have not had it yet,” Cannata said.

Pratt’s health care system has been put to the test--along with the rest of the world--but Cannata said the delayed arrival of the virus allowed for more time to prepare.

“I am very pleased with how our health department, schools and hospital have acted responsively and proactively,” Cannata said. “I compare Pratt with others across the state through my weekly Zoom meeting with other health department directors and can honestly say we have responded as well, or better, than any other community in Kansas.”

One of the main challenges through the pandemic has relied on not overwhelming available health resources, Cannata said.

“By this, I mean our staff rather than our supplies. We have never run out of ventilators, PPE, etc. but have frequently been limited by our skilled staff being out,” Cannata said. “It’s hard to provide some services when 2/3 of a 3 person department are out ill with COVID-19.”