Douglas County evaluates options for independent health department after Tri-County ‘reverses 2020 agreement’

Coronavirus

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — On Monday, the Tri-County Health Department announced it will mandate masks for every person age 2 and up in schools and childcare facilities, and counties will not be able to opt out of the COVID-19 measure.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners said Tri-County’s decision to rescind the opt-out provision “reverses our negotiated Nov. 2020 agreement”.

Full statement from DougCo Board of Commissioners:

“The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) Board’s decision to rescind the opt-out provision from their policy during their meeting this afternoon unilaterally reversed our negotiated Nov. 10, 2020 agreement. This decision removed from the Board of County Commissioners the promised local control regarding the issuance of countywide public health orders, as orders are being developed and before they are issued.
 
That said, as we evaluate the impact of this policy change on our organization, we will continue as we have for the past many months. We will continue directing County staff to work with expert professionals and the Douglas County Public Health Advisory Committee to identify a public health agency framework that will honor the needs of Douglas County citizens.
 
Options include the establishment of an independent, local public health agency that provides or contracts for services. These options are being evaluated with the intent to notify TCHD on or before the end of this year regarding the future of how public health services will be provided for County residents, including our business community, in accordance with the Colorado Public Health Act of 2008, C.R.S. 25-1-501 et seq.”

In November 2020, in a letter to the law firm Overton and Associates, Douglas County Attorney Lance Ingalls said the county rescinded its notice to withdraw from TCHD on July 11, 2021. At that point, Douglas County said it would remain part of TCHD until at least Dec. 31, 2022.

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