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Health and Medicine

Shasta County Reprimands Supervisors For Defying COVID Rules

Supervisors Patrick Jones (left) and Les Baugh opened the county board chambers to the public on Jan 5, defying the county's COVID rules on in-person meetings.
Shasta County Board of Supervisors
Supervisors Patrick Jones (left) and Les Baugh opened the county board chambers to the public on Jan 5, defying the county's COVID rules on in-person meetings.

Shasta County supervisors are in a tug-of-war over whether to adhere to state COVID rules.

The board voted 3-to-2 Tuesday to censure Supervisors Les Baugh and Patrick Jones for opening the chamber doors to the public in defiance of county COVID policy.

A censure is a formal reprimand issued by a public body.

On Jan. 5, Baugh and Jones attended the board’s regular meeting in its chamber and opened the building to public attendees. Prior to that, the board had been holding all its meetings virtually.

Jones says he thinks virtual public meetings violate the state’s constitution. Last spring the governor authorized public bodies to hold their meetings virtually.

Jones joined the board in November. He has frequently called on the county to violate state COVID rules by reopening all non-essential businesses. He ran for office on his belief that health mandates are too restrictive and that scientific evidence about how the coronavirus spreads is false.

“I haven’t changed my life one bit,” Jones told JPR. “I do not wear a mask. I’ve gone everywhere. I shake hands. I hug people. I’ve met thousands of people and I don’t so much as have a cold.”

Numerous studies have confirmed that asymptomatic people can spread the virus to others. Jones says he doesn’t believe in them.

The board resumed in-person meetings in mid-January.

Even as coronavirus numbers remain high in Shasta County, many residents and local officials have railed against California’s health mandates — such as closing non-essential businesses and prohibiting large gatherings.

Shasta County remains in the state’s most restrictive reopening tier due to high case counts. Health officials say the coronavirus was likely the leading cause of death in the county last year.