OSWEGO COUNTY – Retired medical personnel across the country have come out to serve on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Oswego County recognizes retired Physicians’ Assistant Mary Ditzer for her help in the local effort.
“Mary previously worked for St. Joseph’s Hospital Surgery Center and Oswego Health,” said Danielle Carlone, public health sanitarian for the Oswego County Health Department. “She saw how COVID-19 affected communities outside of New York state after spending some time in Florida during her retirement. Coming back to New York, she was eager to be involved and join her fellow colleagues on the front line.”
Anna Reitz, public health nurse and immunization coordination for the Oswego County Health Department, said that Ditzer has been a big help to the department. “She has been working our Wednesday clinics at the health department, serving as a medical evaluator and vaccinator,” said Reitz. “Mary has been great, and very helpful in answering patients’ questions.”
Coming out to help the COVID-19 effort in Oswego County, Ditzer herself commented, “After seeing Jane Nalle and others being featured in the paper, it truly inspired me to volunteer because, if they could do it, so could I.”
When asked about her volunteer experience, Ditzer said, “It felt so important being able to contribute for a true public health emergency. The people and community here are great and the service they are providing so well and with so much spirit makes me proud to be here.”
Ditzer wants to tell everyone the importance of getting vaccinated. “Individuals receiving the vaccine help to protect themselves, their communities, and those who are unable to receive the vaccine, like children and those who are immunocompromised.”
Living in Florida when the vaccine first became available, Ditzer experienced the same difficulty many others did in trying to find places that offered the vaccine. “I even applied to be licensed in Florida so I could volunteer in that community,” she said.
Ditzer will continue her volunteer work at the Oswego County vaccine clinics before returning to Florida to help communities there in any way that she can.
The Oswego County Health Department is thankful for the many volunteers who have come out to prove that “we are all in this together.” Their support has helped the department’s critical operations run as smoothly as they have. Volunteers have participated in vaccination clinics, answered phones and questions on the Oswego County COVID-19 Hotline, made homemade masks for the community, and many other helpful tasks.
“We are so grateful for retired medical professionals like Ditzer who have chosen to dedicate their time to helping our community,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “The fight against COVID-19 is far from over. Without the continuous support of our volunteers, vaccination clinics and other mitigation efforts would not be possible.”
For more information about COVID-19 or to volunteer to help, go to the Oswego County Health Department’s COVID-19 page at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19 or call its COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330. Phone lines are open from 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Oswego County will transition its “Volunteer of the Week” program to a monthly recognition as it continues to highlight its helpers and the work they do.
Under New York State Public Health Law, the Oswego County Health Department is the local public health authority regarding the COVID-19 pandemic response within the county of Oswego. The Oswego County Health Department works closely with New York State Department of Health regarding COVID-19 monitoring, response and reporting.