Director of Kentucky Office of Rural Health, Ernie Scott, Dies Unexpectedly at 46

by J Pelkey
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On Sunday, the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH) announced that its director, Ernie Scott, had passed away “unexpectedly” at his home. He was 46.

It is with the deepest sadness that the Kentucky Office of Rural Health must share that KORH Director Ernie Scott unexpectedly passed away Sunday, March 12, 2023, at his home in Partridge, Ky.

Ernie served as KORH Director for 11 years and touched the hearts, minds, and lives of countless people across the state in that time. He served as principal investigator for Kentucky’s State Offices of Rural Health Program (SORH), Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex), Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP), Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program (KSLRP), and National Health Service Corp (NHSC) promotion project. He also served as editor for The Bridge magazine. He brought over 20 years of valuable rural health care experience to the KORH, ranging from clinic to hospital to academic settings.

No details have been released on the cause of his death.

Scott was a supporter of the COVID-19 shot and received it as a preventative measure.

In a Facebook post, he explained that he caught COVID-19, but said that he still believed in the vaccine.

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To clear up any confusion- I did test positive this week.  I was really sick earlier on but had the infusion and feel much better.  I am certain I will be fine and mostly just inconvenienced due to not being able to go to the office, help out with things at the store, and engage in family Christmas activities. 

I am in quarantine and have isolated from others. Tiffany, Addy and my mom have all tested negative and have no symptoms but continue monitoring just in case.  We have notified all who I may have came in contact with (that could have resulted in potential exposure) prior to my testing and they have been instructed what to do.  If you feel you should have been contacted but weren’t, please get tested and monitor for symptoms.  The team at the store have stepped up the game and are taking additional precautions as well. It is still safe to shop at The General Store-you just won’t see my smiling face for a little while longer-LOL

Do I still believe in the vaccine? Absolutely! Do I know who/when/where I was exposed to COVID? No idea! Will I continue to mask?  Yes, indeed! Will I continue to take additional precautions? You betcha! Will I continue to volunteer at vaccine events?  Yep! Will I be “perfect” day in and day out?  I could only wish!

All jokes aside, COVID is here. It is real. This week, it became a little more real- I sat in a converted hospital room packed with other folks receiving the same infusion.  A single overworked nurse providing care to the bunch of us.  This in our small rural community! 

Does being vaccinated provide absolute protection-nope.  But might it lessen the spread-yes. 

My wish for my vaccinated friends and family: don’t get fatigued in precautions!  Wear a mask, wash your hands, use social distance, get the booster.  Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to turn down an invitation if you don’t feel comfortable attending.  Most of all, show love and respect regardless of vaccine status!

My wish for my unvaccinated friends and family: do your research-from credible sources, don’t be bullied or guilt tripped into taking the vaccine-do it because you feel it is the right thing to do.  In addition, wear a mask, wash your hands, use social distance, etc.  Most of all, show love and respect regardless of vaccine status! 

Love y’all!

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