Monroe County will continue to tackle coronavirus under new leadership

The Health Department director and assistant director are retiring

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT)- Monroe County will continue to tackle coronavirus under new leadership.  The Health Department’s director and assistant director are retiring. 

The pandemic certainly played a role in the timing, but not the way you might think.  “It’s coming to an end and it is pretty emotional when I think about it,”  explains Monroe County Health Director  Sharon Nelson. 

After more than 35 years together on the job,  Nelson and Assistant Director Pam Rainwater are saying goodbye. The duo is retiring December 23rd; together. 

“This has been quite a year here at the health department,” Nelson says, while describing living and working through a pandemic, tracing virus contacts. and the hardship and heartaches it leaves behind.  “We are seeing a new virus we don’t have don’t have treatment for. We’ve seen many, many people who’ve become ill and hospitalized and what it’s done to families.”

But if you think coronavirus pushed these health officers out the door, you’re wrong.  They stayed, putting off an April retirement, because of it.COVID changed it and I did not want to leave the health department at that time.”, explains Nelson.

Nelson’s replacement has been hired and is settling in.  Because of that, and the COVID-19 vaccine on its way, Nelson and Rainwater say the timing is finally right. “We have a very capable team that will be leading the department forward.” 

Although they are retiring, both Nelson and Rainwater say they will return to work when Monroe County holds its COVID-19 vaccine clinics, as volunteers.