Former BRHD director looks back at the COVID pandemic

Lloyd Berentzen, the outgoing director of the Bear River Health District, was lauded by members of the Cache County Council and other local officials for exemplary service on Mar. 23.

Lloyd Berentzen had penciled in April, 2020 for his retirement from a 35-year career at the Bear River Health Department.

Then came COVID and retirement would wait.

I don’t think we ever thought it would become as significant and expansive as it happened over this last year. I think we really thought okay let’s get in, let’s see if we can get ahead of this and maybe by the end of the summer we’ll be able to see some sort of a headed conclusion. That was the original outlook.”

But it was more complicated than that and often directions from the CDC would change frequently as they learned about the virus. He said every day was a learning experience.

“If we were to be presumptive and say ‘Oh, yeah, we knew everything,’ that would simply not be true. We took the basic knowledge we had on how to do interventions and we applied them as we learned more and more about the disease.”

Soon, as case counts were growing, a major challenge was upon them.

“We had one of the largest outbreaks in the country happen here in a local industry and we had to call on not just the state but we got some resources from the CDC to come in and help us. We were able to get a little ahead of that.”

In our next installment, as the spring and summer of 2020 is unfolding Lloyd Berentzen, in his 18th year as medical director at the Bear River Health Department, deals with the growing pandemic plus the other 191 programs the BRHD oversees.

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