© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Despite Surge, Southern Oregon County Leaders Oppose COVID Measures

A medical worker in scrubs works at a small table in a hospital.
Amir Arabshahi

County leaders in Southern Oregon continue to oppose the state’s COVID-19 health measures, even after a massive surge of cases and deaths in the region.

Jackson and Josephine counties were slammed with coronavirus patients this summer; so much so that the National Guard had to help hospitals that were over capacity.

Now that surge is slowing, and county leaders are declaring their opposition to Governor Kate Brown’s vaccine mandate for health and education workers.

At a public meeting, Josephine County’s three commissioners, including Darin Fowler, described the mandate as a government overreach.

“You have no right to ask me a medical question, Mr. Government,” Fowler said. “And I don’t have to answer it. Get that through your thick heads: that you cannot mandate things in America. That’s not the way it works.”

The commissioners are considering a resolution declaring vaccine mandates as “the direct enemy of liberty.” They agreed to table the resolution until their next meeting on Oct. 6.

Commissioner Dan DeYoung blamed the “mainstream media,” “big tech,” and “cancel culture” as reasons why they can’t discuss unproven treatments for the coronavirus — including medicines like ivermectin — which the commissioners have supported in the past.

Jackson County commissioners on Tuesday passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency in response to the state’s mandate. They say the mandate will drive workers from their jobs.

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.