ATLANTA (AP) - Workers at the Centers for Disease Control and prevention returned to work Thursday, frustrated but relieved that a partial federal shutdown was over.
The Atlanta-based CDC is the nation's leading public health agency, responsible for disease outbreaks investigations and illness prevention campaigns. During the 16-day shutdown, about 9,000 of the CDC's 13,000 workers were furloughed.
Agency officials say they were losing the ability to track and respond to new and old dangers, and that the situation was growing more harrowing by the day.
On a rainy Thursday morning, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden stood at the main gates of the CDC's headquarters campus, greeting employees as they returned to work.
Meanwhile, metro Atlanta's national parks re-opened as well. Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park opened at its usual time Thursday morning, while the King Center in downtown Atlanta opened late.