Douglas County leaders formally parted ways with the three-county health bureau on Tuesday, after the Conservative County and Colorado’s largest public health agency clashed over COVID-19 health directives and restrictions for months.
In view of the fact that the county committee members clearly intended to sever ties with the three counties after 55 years, it was unanimous and expected that the county committee members voted in favor of the resolution. The health agency, which serves 1.5 million people in Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas counties, voted last month to terminate the ability of its member counties to opt out of their health orders.
“Today is about local control of public health orders,” said Commissioner Abe Laydon.
Earlier in the day, the commissioners appointed potential members of the Douglas County Future Health Commission, a move scheduled to be formally confirmed on September 14. The five members are two of the three committee members—Lola Thomas and George Thiel—and such as Dr. Linda Fielding, Kimuramoto, and Doug Benevento.
Fielding and Muramoto currently serve as members of the Sanitation Committee of Tri-County, both representing Douglas County. Benevento served as the head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment from 2002 to 2010, and served as the Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump.
Douglas County conducted an hour of public comment before Tuesday’s decision, and some residents wondered whether the county was financially responsible. The county pays $2.5 million to Tri-County every year, and some residents ask if Douglas County can provide the same level of service at comparable prices.
Residents who support this initiative said they are tired of the strict sanitation orders from the three counties, especially requiring children 2 years and older to wear masks in school. They pointed out that no children in Douglas County are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, which proves that Tri-County is using a one-size-fits-all pandemic control method.
“Our children are the least susceptible to this disease, but somehow they are punished the most,” said Lisa Trietley, the mother of Castle Rock.