It’s official: Douglas County leaving Tri-County Health, creating own department

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Douglas County commissioners officially voted to leave the Tri-County Health Department on Tuesday.

The county has been a part of TCHD for 55 years and has paid for services through 2021.

The Douglas County School District said it will continue following TCHD’s student mask mandate — a major source of tension between the county and the health department.

“At this time, the Tri-County Health Department has public health jurisdiction over DCSD, as such, DCSD is obligated to follow the mask-wearing requirement under the Public Health Order,” Superintendent Corey Wise wrote in a Tuesday night release.

“We recognize there is a lot of conflicting information out there about the contract between the Tri-County Health Department and the Douglas County Board of Commissioners,” Wise continued. “Although the Board of Commissioners have publicly stated they are moving to separate from Tri-County Health, the contract between those entities is currently still in place and the Public Health Order is still in effect. Given that the Tri-County Health Department presently has the legal authority to issue Public Health Orders, DCSD is obligated to follow their mask-wearing requirement.”

Douglas County officials announced they were going to work on creating their own entity after TCHD announced counties were not allowed to opt out of COVID-19 regulations. The board voted to move to secede last week.

The county board released a resolution on Aug. 10 declaring its position on COVID-19, variants, vaccinations and mask orders.

The Douglas County School District aligned with TCHD’s initial mandate for students preschool through sixth grade to wear a mask indoors. But on Aug. 30, TCHD amended the mandate to include children age 2 and up to have a face covering in all indoor school settings.

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