Shasta County supervisors end health emergency, restrict access to meetings virtually
The Shasta County Board of Supervisors terminated its local health emergency in a self-professed political move on Tuesday. But several supervisors expressed concern about the decision's financial implications for the county.
The five-member board is following through with promises to end most COVID-19 restrictions, including the local health emergency and removing county policies surrounding vaccination and testing requirements.
“We need to send a message to the public that the state of emergency with regards to COVID is over for us – and it’s time for everyone to get back to work,” said Supervisor Patrick Jones.
But the board’s two moderate members raised concerns that the county could still be on the hook for some public health projects, including vaccine sites that are currently funded by FEMA, according to county staff.
Funding for such services has amounted to around $140,000 in reimbursements so far, staff said. In the future, the money would have to come from the county public health department or the board itself.
According to Jones, if the pandemic becomes more serious, the county always has the option to bring back the emergency order.
Supervisor Mary Rickert said she was disappointed in the new right wing majority's decision that outlawed the option for supervisors to attend meetings virtually.
“I represent people that depend on me to be here for a board meeting,” says Rickert. “And you are disenfranchising those people by not allowing me to participate – and I’m not happy about it.”
Board Chair Les Baugh refused to take up any modifications to the decision, including extending a courtesy to board members allowing them to attend meetings by phone in the event of illness.
Supervisor Joe Chimenti said he supports the ideals behind most of these decisions, but added the new board majority isn’t listening to reasonable arguments.