Wernsman reappointed as Cape County health officer

Jane Wernsman, director of the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, was recently reappointed as the county's health officer.

Wernsman took over for Charlotte Craig in 2012 when the former director retired. She has provided a steady hand of leadership during her tenure. That's never been more appreciated than during the last 12 months as we've grappled with the coronavirus pandemic.

"It hasn't been an easy job this year compared to the past," Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said. "Thank you for all you've done, and we appreciate you stepping up again to be reappointed."

The reappointment of a county health officer is a Missouri statute the county fulfills each February.

In a politically fraught environment, the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center has been clear in its communication and provided much needed data -- numbers, graphs, trendlines. Not all health departments operate so well or are as forthright in sharing information. That's a credit to Wernsman and her team for being proactive in sharing information with the public. As local media, we appreciate this approach.

COVID-19 is no doubt the biggest health crisis to seize our area in generations, if not ever. But what the health center does is bigger than COVID. From its sexually transmitted disease clinic, to flu shots and other vaccinations, the center does important work to protect the public health.

Wernsman has been with the county health center for more than 30 years as both assistant director and director. We appreciate her service, now more than ever, and commend the commissioners for their reappointment of this dedicated public health professional.