In the year 2020 we really need to thank the entire healthcare system, from the Chelan-Douglas Health District to the doctors and nurses, for combatting COVID-19.

It’s hard to thank just one person when considering the tremendous efforts by so many people. Our medical professionals deserve special kudos after experiencing burnout and fatigue through the whole year 

A few people I would like to point out are:

  • Veronica Farias: She has handled communication for the Chelan-Douglas Health District throughout the pandemic. She has responded to calls from the media and helped communicate messaging about what people need to do to stay safe. Farias’s job has been constantly changing throughout the pandemic and she has faced a lot of challenges.
  • Joyous Van Meter: Is the epidemiologist at the health district who has been tracking mountains of COVID-19 data. She has also been handling many, many requests for data, as well as providing agencies and municipalities with information to help them guide their decisions.
  • Barry Kling: Kling was the administrator of the Chelan-Douglas Health District when the pandemic started. He balanced the health needs of the community with the economic pressure to reopen businesses.
  • Bruce Buckles: When Kling retired in June, Buckles stepped into the role as interim administrator for the health district while still running Aging and Adult Care in Central Washington.
  • Nathan Weed: Weed works for the state Department of Health. He took over as interim administrator for the health district in the middle of many changes in the agency. He has also helped in the selection process of a permanent administrator.
  • Confluence Health Staff: These professionals have been the frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19. When people got really ill with COVID they were taken to Central Washington Hospital where staff worked hard to provide them with the highest level of care they could.
  • EMTs and ambulance service workers: People don’t always think about the fact that the people who run our ambulances are rushing into the unknown. During a pandemic this is especially true, where these people know they face a risk of exposure, but do what they must to help others.
  • Chelan-Douglas Board of Health: All of the members of the board of health have had to work long hours and been put under a ton of pressure. In particular Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay and Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton have been attending a lot of meetings — from the state to the local level — to help guide the response to the pandemic.

Tony Buhr: 664-7123 or

on Twitter @TonyBuhr