NACo has launched a campaign to help put a face on frontline workers — many of whom are county employees — battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Called “We Are Counties,” the campaign aims to drive home the fact that America’s 3.6 million county employees — including EMTs, nurses, doctors and support personnel, as well as law enforcement officials, firefighters, public health experts, human services professionals, coroners and medical examiners, and other county government employees — are saving lives and serving communities.
NACo announced the creation of the campaign on April 29, in a nationwide call with the media and county officials, who talked about how county employees are in overdrive fighting the pandemic.
“Dedicated county employees are addressing unprecedented challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic,” said NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson, a Douglas County, Neb. commissioner.
“The ‘We Are Counties’ campaign will show everyone that counties are people — public servants who are making tremendous sacrifices, putting their own lives at risk — to save lives and keep all of us healthy and safe,” she said. “That’s what makes them heroes.”
Nationwide, counties serve more than 300 million residents by supporting and operating nearly 1,000 hospitals, over 800 long-term care facilities, 750 behavioral health centers, 1,900 public health departments, emergency operations centers and 911 systems.
The We Are Counties social media campaign will highlight the service of counties’ 328,000 hospital workers, 330,000 law enforcement officials, 93,000 first responders and many other frontline warriors in America’s battle against the coronavirus.
The campaign comes at a time when America’s counties are facing at least a $144 billion budget impact as a result of skyrocketing costs and plummeting revenues. Counties are urging federal support for counties’ vast health, safety and economic recovery responsibilities, many of which are mandated by states and the federal government.
“We have been strongly advocating for direct and flexible federal funding for county responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and our lost revenue,” Borgeson added.
“These are more than just numbers in a spreadsheet. We are talking about vital services our residents need and the people who deliver them day in and day out.”
We Are Counties will feature pictures and videos of county workers across the country. Look for #WeAreCounties on social media and learn more at www.WeAreCounties.org.
Additionally, NACo’s coronavirus online hub includes county examples of response efforts, interactive maps and analyses of federal actions.