'Government can't be everything': Behind the creation of SAW area COVID-19 task force Leanna Smith and Monique Calello, Staunton News Leader

The area's response to the coronavirus cannot come only from the government, Waynesboro Director of Emergency Management Gary Critzer said. Instead, there must be a larger community response and collaboration. That's where the area's new public-private partnership comes in. 

"If you look at the function of government, the government simply can't be everything for every need in the community," he said. "It takes a whole team and that's pretty accurate. And that's what we're trying to harness is the power of the community."

Critzer says he was initially contacted by Augusta Health to help establish a partnership in the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro area. The partnership now includes the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, United Way, Augusta Health, CAPSAW, Shenandoah Valley Social Services, the faith based community, officials from Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County, business leaders, and others. 

A number of other organizations have also reached out to be involved in the partnership, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth, Critzer said. The team is working to establish an infrastructure to efficiently engage new partners. 

A public-private partnership, the Staunton-Augusta County-Waynesboro COVID-19 task force currently includes:

Gary Critzer, task force chair, director of Emergency management, city of Waynesboro 

Tim Fitzgerald, administrator, Augusta County 

Michael Hamp, manager, city of Waynesboro 

Anita Harris, director, Shenandoah Valley Social Services 

Margaret Hersh, chair, United Way of Greater Augusta 

Scott Just, MD, Augusta Health incident command chief 

Dr. Laura Kornegay, director, Central Shenandoah Health District

Dan Layman, CEO, Community Foundation of Central Blue Ridge 

Mary Mannix, CEO, Augusta Health 

Rev. John Peterson, pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Staunton 

Tami Radecke, vice president-community partnerships, Augusta Health 

Steve Rosenberg, manager, city of Staunton 

Victor Santos, chair, Augusta Health board of directors 

Dr. Marc Shields, Augusta Health medical staff 

Within the task force, there are several committees that focus on finding solutions to prioritized issues. The group was established a few weeks ago and holds organizational meetings virtually.

Shields is an ophthalmologist in Verona, who joined the task force along with other doctors in the Valley help save lives and decrease suffering — the goal of the task force, he said.


Source: Newsleader