Director of Kentucky Office of Rural Health Dies “Unexpectedly” at 46

On Sunday, the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH) made the shocking announcement 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,” the office announced on its social media.

“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,” the post added.

No details have been released on the cause of death.

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

He caught COVID-19, but that didn’t make him doubt the vaccine’s efficacy.

“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,” Scott wrote in 2021.

“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!” he added.

“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!” he concluded.

His funeral will be conducted on Friday, March 17, 2023, at 1 PM with the Reverend Ron Oplinger and Freddie Terry officiating, according to his obituary.

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